A Painting of Geese

by Christopher Raley

 

i.

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.

 

ii.

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.

 

iii.

Perspective is

difficult here

from their long necks

over grey sky

 

to the far brown

diminishing,

horizon-gauged

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.

 

iv.

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.

 

v.

Of course I know.

I know like one

who grasps the wind

and says: Here!  Look!

 

I am holding the

intangible.

But I can’t hold the

intangible.

 

Unfortunate

nevertheless

wind is only

felt tangibly.

 

Instinct charts you

which way it turns,

and wind calls you

which way it blows.

 

The wind calls you.

 

vi.

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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