Look
and you might see the farmer,
his pails set down, gazing up
at the arrowhead flight-pattern of geese —
the precision-point leader heading
two lines in his wake.

The farmer rubs his sore muscles,
tight from the pull of pails, and marvels
at the grace of wings, communal flight.
His shoulders drop as he watches the perfect point
glide through the sky.
He thinks the word wedge.

A random shot
rips the silence,
then he witnesses the spiraling down —

one goose plummeting from its place
like ripped tar paper,
a ragged valkerie
descending
before the bird smacks the stubbled field.

A second goose pulls
from formation, spears
down to the mark.

Now the taste of storm is in the air.

It leads the farmer to the field
with a crate, water, his wife’s wool blanket
for the grounded goose.

Her mate tenderly strokes
her splayed wing
with his beak.

The farmer cradles the wounded goose
in a sling of blanket
and carries her to the barn.
He looks back to nod at her partner,
who follows at a distance, blinking his bead eyes.

In a depression of hay,
her life-mate leans his curved neck onto her breast.

It will be only a day
until the she-goose expires.

After a night of nuzzling her body,
the goose flies away at dawn
to catch the draft of another V.

But years later the farmer still tells his wife:

“Every November
 I swear that goose
 pecks for a moment
at my barn window.”
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