A few years old.
Go early, our friends told us,
just before sunrise, when the light
above the mountains is a pink line
that slowly turns yellow, then gold,
and the sun sends up a long pale pillar.
Then the geese will rise, calling,
against the sky.
You can hear the whisper of their wings.
We went to see the geese,
early, Orion and the waning sickle moon
still in the deep blue sky. We heard
very far away, the geese muttering
in a low wet place, waiting for dawn.
The sky turned pink, and the sun
sent up its shaft of light, and the gray
clouds thickened and the light
shut down. We stood in the shelter
against the south wind. The geese
we came to see did not rise.
Overhead in the rafters, little birds
were waking: a grackle, house sparrows,
one young brown cowbird. They shook
themselves, preened their feathers,
murmured their unthrilling music–
ordinary birds, plain birds,
in the gray morning,
waking one by one.
published in Penwood Review, Fall, 2008