2021-08-13T16:55:51-07:00January 23rd, 2011|Nature|

Geese mate for life

She was alone,
beige body bouncing on the waves
long neck hunched over.

I thought she was sleeping
until I heard her cry,
the strangled moan of loss.

Geese mate for life.

I’ve heard this before
but it seemed sweet,
nature at play in its nameless way.

It doesn’t prepare me for this anguish,
this heartsick widow.

She circled around
and around
like a boat rowed on one side
with only one oar.

As I walked back up the beach
I see a huge flock of geese
drag their triangle of a hundred wings
across the sky.

Surely they are looking for her,
they will console her,
feed her,
keep her warm
until she is over the sharpest edge
of her suffering.

I tell a friend this
and she chides me,
tells me I’m anthropomorphizing.

Doesn’t she know that when one goose gets sick
a few will leave the flock
and stay with him until he can fly again
then they’ll catch up with the rest.

I yell the last part.

It’s not her I’m mad at,
it’s not even my sorrow for that sad goose
left to pace the ocean and sky alone.

I feel defeated that birds
put our human compassion
to shame.

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