Snow Geese Land Beyond the Tree Line
the oldest snow goose on record was 27.5 years old. It was shot in Texas.
— Cornell Lab of Ornithology
I can hear them as I swing the axe to break ice in water troughs—
their wings sound like a peloton of bicycles passing.
Their voices, a cacophony as they circle,
sound like wishes, or dreams, rising. They mate
for life, the female building the nest from feathers
plucked from her own breast. She is often abandoned
for long periods by her mate.
I break through the ice, shards flying, water bubbling.
Down the lane kitchen lights glow in early dawn, Thermoses filled
and steaming, as hunters suit up in winter camouflage,
weapons oiled and ready. Permits pinned to their chests.
How the pupil opens for more light
as the eye tracks a leaf in its tumble across the lawn,
then contracts to a protective sliver as sun lifts
higher above the horizon.
That crystal globe floating a golden iris—
I understand why the marble is called such.
Would that our hearts could open wide enough
to light these chambers that have become a home for grief.
That is what I have of you now, this polished ball of sorrow—
all that we were, seeking the wide lens of illumination.
Linda Blaskey is the recipient of three Fellowship Grants from Delaware Division of the Arts including the 2022 Masters in Literature: Poetry. She is editor at Quartet, an online poetry journal featuring the work of women fifty and over. Her work has been selected for inclusion in Best New Poets, and for the North Carolina Poetry on the Bus project. She is author of the prize-winning chapbook, Farm, the full-length collection, White Horses, and co-author of Walking the Sunken Boards, and Season of Harvest. She grew up in Kansas and Arkansas and now lives in Delaware.