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The geese fly North

by  nickb

Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018
Word Count: 243
Summary: Sorry it's been a while. Not sure if it's a bit sentimental or not.

Overhead, a ragged wishbone heads North
to Spring quarters.  Wings lever against fat bodies,
bird bones and feather fall shoulder the air.
On the downbeats they call to the horizon,
wheezing like holed bagpipes monotone as the dark sky,
they fly over the edge of the hill,
disappear like a magician’s trick.
At the gate she watches them.
And now with a hiss of salt wind
on this stubborn, stillborn day
she is, for a moment, the most solitary person.
Standing alone, she strains to hear the voices
of all the people she has known,
or sense the paper threads that joined her to them.
The geese, she says, are the slow hand of the year
a reminder of her own flock
that she loved to swaddle against the cold.
But they too flew North
leaving time in their place, and plenty of it.
On some days she opens all the windows,
cocks her head like a bird to listen.
News of their losses and victories seeps in
as she sleeps in the afternoons.
Sometimes she wakes and is twenty five again,
for a few seconds at least,
her goslings around her feet.
As Autumn comes she scans the hilltop,
longs for rain and sleet and the
shortening days that unknot her heart.
When they come, they take apart
the long summer piece by piece,
filling the air with noise.
Their return turns back a hundred years
as if it was yesterday.