A ragged V of calling geese approaches,
one powering to take its turn at point
as others find their places in the slipstream.
Then as they rise towards the line of trees
one flailing body tumbles to the ground;
a cry and splatter twenty feet away.
It flaps a damaged wing and starts to run
south in the direction of its fellows,
neck straining toward them, stopping at the wall.
The wounded goose and I both stand helpless
at this sudden fathomless tragedy.
Well to the south, the rest climb onward,
powerful chests heaving tireless wings;
their distant honking to each other fades
as the line dissolves in the evening sky.
Kieran Egan lives in Vancouver, Canada. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Quills (Canada), Literary Review of Canada, Dalhousie Review (Canada), High Window (UK), Orbis (UK), Raintown Review (USA), Envoi (UK), Shot Glass Journal (USA), Qwerty (Canada), Snapdragon (USA), The Antigonish Review (Canada), Acumen (UK), Canadian Quarterly and The Interpreter’s House (U.K); also shortlisted for the John W. Bilsland Literary Award, 2017 and for the TLS Mick Imlah prize 2017.