All these geese

basking roadside, pondside, sun-
side, ignoring thunderous trucks,
whizzing cars, even the thump
and whine of the garbage collector—
but humans are something else
altogether, and all together, uneasy
at my approach, they turn their heads,
long necks, move in smooth unison
closer to the water. A few startle,
take wing at a runner’s passing
breeze, plunge into the pond,
three white furrows and four more
behind, wings wide then down,
tail feathers shaken into place—
and what a goose I am, trail-walking
roadside, pondside, sun-side,
to startle as the first man runs up
and past, and again to turn my head,
uneasy, when the second, walking,
overtakes me.

Meanwhile the world goes on

Earth Day—and I may well dream
of the view from the stars
or the birds, what we look like, doing
down here; and surely
the birds care no more nor less
than the neighbor, scrape-raking her deck

why I sit here, empty

in the sun, in the thunder
convulsing waves of fear, hate
like fish schooling
whooshing this way and that
slosh and drown—but
let’s bring it back down
to a point, to all pieces fitted
together in this landscape

why I sit here, empty

or like a barefoot god
granting water or death
dividing root from root—
a momentary purpose
in these quiet hours, enough
to breathe this air, and care ?

why I sit here, empty


NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 22 is Earth Day. Title from Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese” (sneaking in on yesterday’s Poetic Asides prompt), which also includes these lines that got me thinking: “over and over announcing your place/in the family of things.” Form is a bop, explained nicely here.