Summer Lee 2004 All Rights Reserved


Gray Goose Flying

One gray goose flying
along a straight and gleaming river
about to meet a man driving the other way
keeps flapping. One hand on the wheel,
he watches the goose
To be here, exactly now,
he packed his blue car, stopped for gas
twice, and just missed a woman
in Desert Aire. The goose chattered
among a thousand nervous wings,
dipped its pliable neck and filled up
on green rows to flap
                                    and flap
around the skin of the world.
Wildflowers sowed last summer
their purple appearance.
Through three dams, its own
sinuosities, the river
                                slid and slides
still. All part of this
alignment, this particular north and south.
What figures can catch it? And like that,
over and done. One going
one way, the other
                                the other.
The man expected such amazements.
He does not slow or quicken.
One body moving,
                                he rolls
onward, even as he feels
in his own streaming
the start of that gray goose.

Derek Sheffield
Copyright 2004

Derek Sheffield won North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Award judged by Li-Young Lee. His work has appeared recently in Swink, The Bellingham Review, Crab Creek Review, Open Spaces, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, and Stories from Where We Live: The Northwest Pacific Coast (Milkweed Press). Nine of Sheffield’s poems appear in the Fall 2004 issue of Poet Lore along with a brief introduction by David Wagoner. Derek Sheffield teaches English at Wenatchee Valley College in central Washington where he serves as the advisor for the college literary journal, Mirror Northwest.

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