Copyright © 2001 Bob Dornberg

Where the Glaciers Melt

Old men wander to the docks and stare,
a turquoise lake the glaciers dug.
October, those docks will all be gone,
pulled up so ice won't crush them,
the lake so hard trucks drive there

loaded with boulders. Some fished here
as fathers, bass boats pulled from Maine
or Alabama, wallowing on Lake McDonald
for trout. Others backpacked Glacier Park
with their brides five decades ago.

These stand alone and stare at silver water
at dusk, beyond campfires. They totter forward,
as if they could swim ten miles across
to cold McDonald Creek, like salmon
splashing to where the glaciers melt.

My wife and I wait discreetly back
from the bank and let those older stare
at the lapping lake, the peaks, a million trees.
Old couples hunch like bears on hind legs,
padded with double coats, hands stiff

with mittens broad as grizzlies' paws.
This is the season for old men and women,
and why not, ice about to crack on ponds
and aspens leafing out. Let summer come.
Snowplows buck and roar on Logan Pass,

only four more weeks to clear the road
of sixty feet of snow for couples
and families in vans driving fast,
past scenic pullouts to the top of the pass
and down to shops in distant towns.

Walt McDonald
Copyright © 2001

Walt McDonald is Texas Poet Laureate for 2001. His recent books include All Occasions (University of Notre Dame Press, 2000), Blessings the Body Gave and The Flying Dutchman (Ohio State, 1998, 1987), Counting Survivors (Pittsburgh, 1995), Night Landings (Harper & Row, 1989), and After the Noise of Saigon (Massachusetts, 1988). His poems have been in journals including American Poetry Review, The American Scholar, The Atlantic Monthly, First Things, Journal of the American Medical Association, London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Poetry, and TriQuarterly.

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