Kathleen McCracken

Something About Horses

Kathleen McCracken

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His walk is the walk of a man

facing into the wind, blue

norther with a hint of snow

his voyageur heart

set on finding

the edge of the edge

or the pine tree 

at the cartographic centre

of the USA –

Lebanon, Kansas.

His walk is the walk

of rustlers, hustlers

wranglers, cutters

vaquero reinsmen

old time believers in

bosal, mecate 


His walk walked out

of a border ballad

bandit corridos

Arapaho yodels.

His walk is a backlit

black & white saunter

down Main Street

past the pool hall

the pickup truck

the picture show.

His walk has heels on

Mexican, Texan, Cuban

they echoed oddly

that time at Coney Island

nails in the boardwalk

a tunnel by the sea.

His walk walked miles

while he talked to himself

told stories about

mission stiffs, grainers

the liberty bell.

His walk gave him snake hips

a defiant turn against

his own centres of gravity.

All weathers his walk

took him west

it had Wenatchee

it had Wyoming

it had something about horses

written all over it.

Kathleen McCracken

Kathleen McCracken is a Canadian poet and academic. She is the author of seven collections of poetry including Blue Light, Bay and College (Penumbra Press, 1991), which was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Poetry in 1992, A Geography of Souls (Thistledown Press, 2002), Moonclaves (Exile Editions, 2007) and Tattoo Land (Exile Editions, 2009). Most recently, a bilingual English/Portuguese edition of her poetry entitled Double Self Portrait with Mirror: New and Selected Poems, and featuring a preface by Medbh McGuckian, was published by the Brazilian press Editora Ex Machina. She is the recipient of the University of Toronto Review’s Editor's Choice Award for Poetry, the Anne Szumigalski Editor's Prize, several Ontario Arts Council awards and an Individual Artist Award from the Northern Ireland Arts Council. Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Poetry Canada Review, Exile Quarterly, Poetry Ireland, The Shop, Revival, Abridged, New Orleans Review and Grain, and she has given readings in Canada, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States. Kathleen is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing and Contemporary Literature at Ulster University