Geese Crossing the Turnpike
I do not climb into the animal mind. I do not 
willingly place my hand against their long necks
and touch their white feathers as I do this page.
It has just begun to snow, those first heavy flakes.
When I look up, it is not to see my forgotten lover’s face
through a small line of pedestrian geese. 
I thought I had forgotten their determination, their
sharp instinctive stroll across the Jersey Pike.
I thought I had placed them back into their meadow, above
the glassy, Canadian lake: that mother and her young
where we would never meet, before we met in the road.
She took her bullfighter’s pose, one wing already
broken by a Subaru. The Mercedes to our left
wove toward us while we looped behind 
the driver’s careful conversation with the air
under the whistling brakes of a Peterbilt. We all 
slid through like water over stones. Yet
we knew they could not last. So what good 
was it that we had passed? That we had survived
all that we had been taught, to live one moment more?
One thing does not mean another. No one lays down a life
like a snowflake on the tongue. At eighty miles per hour, 
geese are pages filled with our lives in love:
plot-less stories that did not last. No wonder they are 
no good to us now. Yet, on any frigid given night
I can feel along the summit of my knuckles
a pressure of her fingers digging in, and I think 
we might have died with those geese in the stillborn past, 
and that our bodies, when we feel them at all, are being touched
only by someone’s memory of them, some 
misplaced desire moving the frosted cells together again.
Finally we are given one thing: the bone-white 
intelligence of snow. How it awakens us after falling secretly 
the night before. Finally we inhabit these winter cities.
And as the ice creeps in, we clap it from our coats,  
to restore the not unpleasant death of our longing.
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