When I Heard the News
Once, driving the small back roads of Kansas
in November, nothing on my mind but the sun
firing through a magnificent spreading oak,
I rounded a curve and a chicken
bloodied my windshield. I couldn’t stop it
from happening, the hard, invisible wall
of glass between us. Two feathers
stuck there as I braked, too late.
In the rearview mirror, it struggled
to fluff itself up, then toppled.
I thought to go back. Scoop up
the stopped heart and broken feathers and carry it
to the farmhouse door. But it was only a chicken,
after all, a chicken that had gotten careless
and would have been tied to a clothesline
anyway, to await the swift cleaver
So I went on down the road in my first car,
1963, sunlight shooting its needles across wheatfields.
When the radio fixed me in that spot forever
with the news from Dallas.
— Jeff Worley ’71/75
Worley, a native Wichitan who now lives and works in Lexington, Ky., received a BA in English and an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State. He was the second graduate of the MFA program. He has published six collections of poetry. The latest, Happy Hour at the Two Keys Tavern, was nominated last year for a Pulitzer Prize. “When I Heard the News” will be featured in the next issue of WSU’s literary magazine, Mikrokosmos, which has been published annually since 1958.
“From Wichita With Love,” quilt, 64 x 84 inches
Sherry (Stewart) Waters ’71 worked with five Truesdell Middle School students and a Prairie Quilt Guild member to craft this quilt for Oprah Winfrey’s school for girls in South Africa. Making the quilt was Waters’ idea for an after-school project. “When you can’t give money, you give of your time and talent,” she says. Waters, who has taught art for 18 years, says she is awestruck about the team’s handiwork. “To think middle school students did this. It's just wonderful!”
“Spring Meadow,” acrylic on canvas, Judy Dove ’74
This artist and founder of both Artists at Old Town and the UPFRONT Gallery in Wichita earned her Master of Fine Arts degree from Wichita State, is a member of the Artists Guild of Wichita, the National League of American Pen Women and is a former member of Gallery XII. Dove uses a wide array of tools and materials to create the varied textures that make up the surfaces of her large, non-objective paintings. “I am always searching for new images and techniques to express my visions,” she says. “I want to engage the viewer in my images so that he or she can bring something of themselves to the experience.”