Monday, and still, as though trumping the dullard
in Brueghel’s Proverbs, the geese are barefoot—
Canada migrants, shuffling in snow at Fordham.

By the half-dozen, diamonds patching the sky,
they have their fling, and wheel to earth,
restless colonials, honking of mates and the south.

In their black and tan, as the Bronx itches for spring,
they take the measure of zoo and garden,
of cutting and concourse, the slots and blocks of our living,

but have marshes on mind, or tundra, or muskrat houses:
back of those bills are rumours of corn,
of eel-grass and barley, an orient of rice,

Bermuda flagged by the plucked blade. In sunlight
the cold crystals are still massy,
a sight to see from above the treetops, as

to the same Dutchman’s lancing eye when he numbered
Bethlehem’s crew, burgher and waif,
a cow nudging the laden mule, and beer

by the wheeled tun a last obex. This morning,
the geese and I are milling in whiteness,
a squirrel for witness there at a tree’s vantage,
some at home and all homing.

(for Margaret Manion)



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