A Painting of Geese

by Christopher Raley



Are they landing

or heaving wings

to beak-point sky?


Or do they make

for the bare tree?

If geese like trees

. . . I guess they’re geese.



It’s all angles,

dark angles and

white-met angles

eased by water.


Shore eased by blue,

geese hard in wing.

Tree’s a tangle.



Perspective is

difficult here

from their long necks

over grey sky


to the far brown



line of . . . well, what?


Bushes or trees?

I will never

be able to

tell which they are.


I suppose it

doesn’t matter.

There’s no snow here

in the valley.



I can’t decide

what to tell you

because I don’t know

what you can hear.


Stay or go, stand

or run. Leave. Hide.

Or seek your raw,

cut-open skin

cut open again.


What can I say?

I, who have said,

keep going back,

as if I knew.



Of course I know.

I know like one

who grasps the wind

and says: Here!  Look!


I am holding the


But I can’t hold the





wind is only

felt tangibly.


Instinct charts you

which way it turns,

and wind calls you

which way it blows.


The wind calls you.



What can I say?

The tree’s real.

The shore’s real.

The water.


But I address you

like to the geese

who will not hear

what I have said,


will not answer

what I have asked.

So I will not

ask anymore.


Now I confess:

the geese.  I still

can’t tell if they

rise or fall.


I am surprised

you decided

to hang them up

on our wall.

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One Response to A Painting of Geese

  1. Chris, What amazing and unusual language. I said unusual but I want to still say, unique. Jan

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