Jo McDougall has published five books of poetry and a memoir, Daddy’s Money. The University of Arkansas Press published her collected poems. In the Home of the Famous Dead, in 2015. A book of new poems is slated for publication in 2016 by Tavern Books. She has received awards from the Readers Digest/DeWitt Wallace Foundation, the Academy of American Poets, the Arkansas Arts Council, and the Porter Prize Foundation of Arkansas as well as multiple fellowships from the MacDowell Colony. She has been inducted into the Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame. Co-director of the creative writing program at Pittsburg State University, she lived for many years in the Midwest. A native of the Arkansas delta, she now resides in Little Rock. Her memoir, Daddy’s Money: A Memoir of Farm and Family, focuses on growing up on a rice farm in the Arkansas delta.
As a Visting Writer/Writer in Residence, McDougall travels widely to read her poetry and to give craft talks and workshops. She also offers mentoring and editing services for poets. (http://www.jomcdougall.net/biography.html)
The short poem I reblogged yesterday called this one by Jo McDougall to mind. I think this is a common experience for anyone who has lost someone they love. You’ll be buzzing along one day NOT thinking about the person, you’ll feel fine. Then suddenly something will remind you of them and a cloud of guilt will settle on you as if you’re being disloyal because for just a moment you were feeling normal. At least that’s been my experience…
* * * * *
As I drive into town
the driver in front of me
runs a stop sign.
A pedestrian pulls down his cap.
A man comes out of his house
to sweep the steps.
bright as raspberries.
I turn on the radio.
Somebody tells me
the day is sunny and warm.
A woman laughs
and my daughter steps out of the radio.
Grief spreads in my throat like strep.
I had forgotten, I was happy, I maybe
was humming “You Are My Lucky Star,”
a song I may have invented.
Sometimes a red geranium, a dog,
will carry me away.
But not for long.
Some memory or another of her
catches up with me and stands
like an old nun behind a desk,
ruler in hand.