In memory of Mimi Ward, who passed away ten years ago and in honor of Lucy Bogue who celebrates ten years of remission from leukemia. I wrote this poem thinking of both of them at the time, and there is sadness today that makes me think of these geese, and joy that makes me grateful for my life, the love of my family and friends.
They fly across the gray sky
those soldiers of the season.
Tighter and looser formations
Varying sizes of flocks.
I hear the honking, their calls
to one another, “Are you there?”
“Did we get everyone?”
“It’s growing cold again.”
The north winds shake the color
from our mountains.
Rain pours into the rivers, out of
my eyes, down my cheeks.
The banks are flooded, the roads
washed away, one more friend
knocking at my soul
and I am flooded too.
I want to jump in line
Form a V of my own, know
instinctively which way to go
Call out and hear my mate’s echo.
I have always loved the fall.
Crisp sunny days, brilliant shades
of red, orange and yellow mixing
with the evergreens.
But this one seems too long,
too sad, and I’m ready to
land, like the geese
in warmer waters.
*First published in the Anthology of New England Writers, 2007.