A Hundred Gourds 2:3 June 2013
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page 10  

Tricia Orr - USA

Surviving Winter

clouds float
on a silent river--
a way home

I spy him from the window of my house. A white goose with clipped wings nestled in the amber clasp of reeds, gobbling up pondweed, body tipped vertically, soft belly exposed. Soon, I’m one of his visitors. I observe his grace and ease with the wild ducks and geese. I’m there to witness his flightless fury during fall migration.

As first ice cracks, swelling like blown glass, talk of bold capture struts through the neighborhood. A dog carrier, fishing net, thick gloves, make their way down to the river in strong hands. Hiss, wing-slap, slither and dart. He will not be caught.

When the mercury reads minus 10, when the hungry mink slinks in for the kill, when the water freezes in places then shallows out, he survives. Suns himself on a fallen aspen. Honks at the sky until a pair of mallards sail in on thin bodies.

cracked corn
and romaine hearts--
snow-bent branches


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