And the Grace
The quiet of leaves letting go.
The quiet of a shovel opening the earth.
The quiet of granite, sunlight, and shadow
as I bicycle through St. Boniface Cemetery
on my way to work.
Beyond the far fence, traffic
bickers and creeps along, but here
the roads are quiet as memory, empty
Rounding a bend,
I see five wild geese
across the cropped grave grass.
Quiet as cool air, I coast
closer for a look at these great birds.
Ten black-faced eyes
on question mark necks
watch my slow, rolling approach
until the nearest one shakes the silence
with clear, oboe-note calls.
They all rise, commotion
of honking and wings,
and find the way
of the air and the grace
of the season, then veer southeast
toward the beckoning fire bird’s eye of the sun,
toward Lake Michigan’s glinting
surface, skin of a dark hand
pointing that way. They
leave me to the quiet stealth
of red and yellow in the trees,
to the quiet of the wind’s shifting northwest,
to the quiet of my kind laid fast in the earth.
They leave me straddling my bicycle
halfway from home, halfway to work,
my body wingless and wanting.
First published in Margie, v.6, 2007