Volume 2 Number 1


Winter 2003

Wild Goose Harvest

Kelly Searsmith

Sister, I was in love. I had reached inside
with both hands, like I was gutting a chicken.
Practical evisceration. I had hollowed myself out
until I was ribs and space and the memory of life.

I was stuffed full of desire. It was invisible,
but I could smell it cooking in the oven.

Oh, I got good at stewing in my own juices.
I thought, 'that man for whom I've prepared
this fabulous meal seems awfully late for dinner.'
That man, for whom I trussed myself up,
he's not even gonna notice the trouble I went to,
plucking my feathers and tearing out my own guts.

Sister, I thought a long time about whether
he really accepted my dinner invitation
in the spirit I intended it.
And when I was done, I knew my goose was cooked.

I told myself I would never eat again.
I wasn't one of those magical beasts with renewable flesh.
I just had the one body, and maybe it wasn't
such good eating after all. At least he
hadn't wanted it as much as I thought he might,
keen, I knew, as was that man's appetite.

I was that one gaunt goose -- speckle belly, blue,
or snow -- the last out before winter, barely able to fly,
forgetting where south was, sure warmth wasn't
a memory but a dream I'd had. Shot down before
I made it, hung out to drain with the rest. Listen.

Sister, I'm thanking you. Because there I was,
with the table set, cloth on, china matched, candles lit,
about to eat that tasteless plate of crow, and you walked in,
in your kicky boots and spiky hair, ready to make trouble.

That's his damn dinner, you said. He wanted goose.
Let him have it. We're going out flying 'til dawn
drops down over our shoulders like disco lights.
Hey. You remember how to fly, don't you?
And I said, Sister, you bet your honk and wings I do.