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

Canadian poet Kathleen McCracken is the author of eight collections of poetry including Blue Light, Bay and College, shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, and a bilingual English/Portuguese edition entitled Double Self Portrait with Mirror: New and Selected Poems. She was a finalist for the WB Yeats Society of New York Poetry Competition, the Montreal International Prize for Poetry, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and the CBC Poetry Prize. In 2019 she won the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing. Kathleen is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing and Contemporary Literature at Ulster University, Northern Ireland.