Author's Note “Madill” is a revised version of the poem that appeared in my first full-length collection, Mansions. I have heard Cézanne quoted as having said “work, work, and the Promised Land is in sight.” I know this is true for me, as I can’t make sense of anything unless I write about it. I am not one who is happy having written, but one who is actually happy while writing.
for my father
At the dog races in Tijuana, you waited all day to bet on Madill, dog named the same as the Oklahoma town you were born in. Madill— done in before he rounded the track. Going on six-years dead, you’re coming back to me in Reseda, September, the house on Valerio, laying bricks around the flowerbed in the deep valley heat. Beer cans gleam from the fence top, and sweat beads glister your back. I imagine it was hot like that— your mama barely two-weeks dead— the day you and Buddy sat on the fence, feet tucked under the wooden slats, Pa’s cow a target for your Bowie knife, dreaming of another life, you let the handle fly.
©2020 Donna Hilbert
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