|This morning, out in lightly falling snow, I heard geese
as flights of them flew overhead. Like a shot
I was ten again, Grammy and I at the lake. I’d sit in the bow
of my canoe, pulled awkwardly ashore, neck craned back to watch the sky.
I was always sad to see them go; their calls so many cold goodbyes.
Ice encrusted water slushed against the dock in slow motion waves.
It was time to seek new horizons, where waves
of Floridian waters would embrace the geese.
My grandmother said that every new adventure started with goodbyes
to one thing or another. If I were ever to have a shot
at following my dreams, there’d be farewells as I reached for the sky.
Instinct would lead me onward to my accomplished bow.
One year Momma and Poppa Goose stayed behind, a nest in the bow
of my boat. The wintery sky turned black with departing waves.
They would call out as the flying ones filled the sky.
Wounded wing grounded Poppa. (Canada geese
mate for life.) Momma would not leave her mate, recently shot
during hunting season. She would not yet say her goodbyes.
This, then, was the winter of no cold goodbyes.
Before school, pony tailed hair with ribboned bow,
blowing in the stiff breeze, I’d take a shot
at keeping ice from the edge of the lake, waves
arrowing out as they swam. The geese,
with an itch in their wings, anxious for a return to their sky.
That summer Poppa introduced his flock to the sky,
practiced formational takeoffs leading to goodbyes.
Clouds overhead gathered gray with unfallen snow as the geese
took flight. My two watching for a moment, dipping heads in an elegant bow,
before joining in the aerial ballet of strong winged waves.
Grammy’s strong hand gripped my shoulder, then-- the parting shot.
Grammy joined the geese beyond the horizon. No miracle shot
or endless love could keep her with me. Heaven was in the sky.
I knew she was watching although there’d been no time for final waves.
Her new adventure started without time for goodbyes.
Outside, snow blanketed as I cried myself to sleep. Her final bow
had been silent, but she’d been telling me, as had the geese.
Overhead the geese are shaftless arrows shot
from an instinctual bow piercing the morning sky
with their raucous goodbyes. Time waves.
2nd place winner-Dec 2009 Quotation Inspiration Contest