A note from McNair about this letter: I quickly abandoned “Waving Goodbye,” the poem in question here, but it returned many years later, less abstract in its conception, fastened down by human experience. The final version of “Waving Goodbye, published in my 1998 collection Talking in the Dark, appears below. Sometimes the creative cycle a poem requires is long, and “Waving Goodbye” took nearly as long as “The Retarded Children Play Baseball” to think through. So this section of letters ends with a kind of promise to my future development as a poet.
Read Waving Goodbye (published version)
See also a selection of McNair’s manuscript notes and drafts for “Waving Goodbye.”