Oct/Nov 2001 Poetry

Turning 65 in Montana

by Walt McDonald

Art by Bob Dornborg


Turning 65 in Montana

Can this gnarled, scarred fist be mine?
Mottled in a shaft of sunlight,
it sticks out of my sleeve, lifts a mug
no longer hot. Beyond the deck, elk graze
in the ravine. Three lift their heads and stare.

Chewing, they lower muzzles to the weeds
and swing their wide mouths side to side,
like scythes. They're not afraid
of my fist lifting something to my face
with pictures sheathed in plastic. Around

and around the mug, grandchildren's photos run,
beginning, ending with my thumb--my father's thumb,
thick bull-hide wrinkles and a beveled nail.
Sunlight slides along a mile of meadow.
For an hour, Deer Mountain's granite shines,

blue spruce and pine bright green. Soon,
my wife will join me in her robe and coat.
Sleepy, she'll tilt the steaming coffee to my cup,
raised high as if to toast her, my fist
and stiff thumb squeezing the china tight.


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