Literature 10-29-2007

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Colin McDonald

"What Light: This Week's Poem,” sponsored by Magers and Quinn Booksellers, brings you a poem every week by a Minnesota poet, selected by a panel of writers and publishers. Look for our anthology, “What Light,” at Magers and Quinn in Uptown or on line.



Fold up the table after.
Bare now, flanked by our bodies now,

near as a vanishing point.
Intimately the same and huddled over

for it. I sit uncomfortably, like a scratch
of hair obtruding from my temple; I belong

with the crumbs, sitting, again, like
a demonstration. “If your drinking becomes

too apparent,” I say, “I’ll tell you.”
My words, like dollhouse furniture,

don’t ask for room to rearrange,
only patience to. I sit and sip the wine,

tonguing a slut root above my tooth.
All the words missing are here.


I wrote “Slut” at the New York Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College, in a workshop taught by Henri Cole. It was the first in a short series of poems in which I attempted to examine my habit of writing primarily for aural satisfaction, by exercising, what I call, the Rule of Two. The rule is simply a goal to include two objects, events, or persons in each piece in effort to connect the two with as few spare parts as possible. Hopefully, by identifying what kinds of exterior concepts are at work informing the central relationship of the poem I can begin to understand how that relationship is functioning and how it might function differently.


Colin McDonald was born in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1984 and raised near Chicago. He received his BA in Magazine Journalism and Writing from Drake University in May of 2007, and is currently pursuing his MFA in poetry at Hamline University. Honors include the Humanities Center Joanne Brown Emeritus Award from Drake University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Best Female Laugh Award from the Drake Choir. In addition to writing poetry, he enjoys writing and writing about music.