Poetry Porch: Poetry


My Father Converses with a Goose
By Teresa Iverson

He does not speak, though his mouth opens slightly
                                    with pleasure:
in white dress shirt and workday overalls,
house shoes (the ones I gave him,
he always reminds me, that years of wearing
have not worn out)

kneeling, his body once taut
with Sunday righteousness
any day of the week,
             relaxes and
                             against a Southern sun
                          curves forward

one hand reaching out
            just above a touch,
the other, that was wont
to drive home his preacherly will
                        on the backsides of children
spare the palm, the belt, and spoil the child
              closed now,
                         hiding the golden grain

From such attentions
not even a goose
                        remains impervious:

All bottom and neck,
                        double curve
              it stretches up
from rubbery orange feet

beak almost level with mouth,
              somehow all but eye-to-eye
                        bilateral to frontal

Here are no hierarchies of station
or affection, but give-and-take
in equal exchange untainted
with self-scrutiny and doubt,
            no regrets for too many or too few
moments misspent

                                    Goosey, goosey gander
                                    whither shalt thou wander

He loves this creature of the moment
with a love egalitartian
more fraternal
                        than vegetarian:
                He would not shut it in a narrow box
to live out its time in darkness,
neither would he stop
the owner’s knife from its graceful neck

For him, this goose is safe
            being fully terminal
no soul to damn or send
to a goosey Elysium

She holds the camera, my mother, closest to him
                        and least open,
the two of them in her sights

backlit by a Southern sun
all-but-set to harvest
the soft, corn-silk tassels
            of Scandinavian hair.

Copyright © 2007 by Teresa Iverson.