Author’s Note: “The Lesser Snow Goose was written shortly before my mother died. She is the ‘you’ in the poem—very ill, sitting beside me in the waiting area before a doctor’s visit. It felt fitting that the geese flew over then and later, given that she loved birds.”
The Lesser Snow Goose
We are waiting in the waiting room—a space
grand in its area, with windows that face west.
There’s no sun on this day and there’s been snow
early, so all is gray or grayish and filthy with leaves.
The birds appear in my window—five of them
coming toward, with no apparent sound.
The man sitting beside you speaks up, saying
they’re snow geese making their way to where they go.
And we are startled from our irritation. And we forget
our aches and pains, the throb that has come to define.
Three days later, I am out on a walk and look up
to see nine of them heading in a different direction.
There’s sun on this day and their wings flash
with light and steady, sure motion.
They pass right above me with no glass between, going a
way from, heard in that way they have of communication.
I say to no one in particular how kind of stunning
they are and how the word goose doesn’t do them justice.
And I think of you and that other day and how you began
to shake when they called your name. And how you said
you weren’t feeling that well, which was understatement—
the lesser phrase, the making light of, what we do to appear
effortless in our journey.
Kelly R. Samuels is the author of the full-length collection All the Time in the World (Kelsay Books, 2021) and two chapbooks: Words Some of Us Rarely Use and Zeena/Zenobia Speaks. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee with work appearing in Salt Hill, The Carolina Quarterly, The Pinch, The Massachusetts Review, and RHINO. She lives in the Upper Midwest.
Delmarva Review, Volume 14, includes new poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from seventy authors that stood out from thousands of submissions during the year. The nonprofit review is available in print and digital editions from Amazon.com and other online booksellers, as well as from regional specialty bookstores.