By on Apr 22, 2018 in Poetry

Canadian geese with mist     

        Two big geese can
                            scare up the dead.

              — August Kleinzahler, “Canada Geese in New Jersey”

The long, wet winter hasn’t
              moved on yet.

              They’re still out there
in the slough, dark-bound,
              rain-pressed, raising

              an awkward hell,
maybe ten, maybe a hundred
              for all the racket,

              big Canada geese,
honking in high form at 6 A.M.,
              spooked by something,

              an otter or harbor
seal working high tide, maybe just
              their own surliness,

              too many of them
to get through the night silently,
              or something’s in

              the air, the season
starting to change, a long, long
              journey waiting

              when the first one
knows that it’s time to head
              north. I can’t sleep

              either, restless
myself, dinner alone, one
              glass of wine

              too many, my
own deep brain stirred up by
              lurking shadows.

              and the long trip
I still have to take. I try different
              positions, then

              crack the window
and listen to more of their raucous
              conversation. Spring

              out there somewhere,
and the next home for us all just a few
              journeys away.


                            Puget Island, Washington

This poem previously appeared in “Windfall,” a publication specializing in poetry relating to places in Oregon.


David Filer grew up in the low California desert but has lived in Oregon (now Portland) since 1975. He's retired from an early career teaching junior high school and then a longer one as an attorney. Now he volunteers in the local juvenile court and his neighborhood middle school. His wife, Marlene Anderson, created and directs The Imani Project, working with villagers in coastal Kenya on HIV/AIDS prevention, orphan support and related issues.