Phebe Davidson

The Light

The memory of bread has called them here, white chin straps stark
as wimples. They glide on water like nuns on cloistered walks,
waddle grassy margins in stately, eccentric array. Seven Canada
geese. Goslings in late adolescence hiss. Their sire snakes a
malevolent neck at each rebellious son. I fed them for seven summer
weeks, watched them and thought they had gone for good, beating
the stagnant pond to froth, rising over the lawn's slick verge,
climbing the heavy air. They grace a cutbank, fifty yards away. No
premonition warns of what comes next, the phalanx rising a near
five feet, arrowing, eye level, straight for me to drop like stones at
my feet. Every landing perfect. Each bird utterly still. Then, in
perfect silence, the synchronized extension of seven sinewy necks.
The slyly twisting heads. The sideways, silent steep regard of seven
identical eyes. Glittering. Secret. Bright.