After the Goose That Rose Like the God of Geese
Everything that lives is Holy.
After the phone call about my father far away,
after the next-day flight canceled by the blizzard,
after the last words left unsaid between us,
after the harvest of the organs at the morgue,
after the mortuary and cremation of the body,
after the box of ashes shipped to my door by mail,
after the memorial service for him in Brooklyn,
I said: I want to feed the birds, I want to feed bread
to the birds. I want to feed bread to the birds at the park.
After the walk around the pond and the war memorial,
after the signs at every step that read: Do Not Feed The Geese,
after the goose that rose from the water like the god of geese,
after the goose that shrieked like a demon from the hell of geese,
after the goose that scattered the creatures smaller than geese,
after the hard beak, the wild mouth taking bread from my hand,
there was quiet in my head, no cacophony of the dead
lost in the catacombs, no mosquito hum of condolences,
only the next offering of bread raised up in my open hand,
the bread warm on the table of my truce with the world.
“After the Goose That Rose Like the God of Geese” was used with permission of the author, and comes from the book Vivas to Those Who Have Failed, Copyright © 2016.
This poem was originally read in the Poetry Unbound episode “Martín Espada — After the Goose That Rose Like the God of Geese.”