“What I Have to Do”
Last night a single goose flew
over the house, crying and crying.
I had just come home from a day
of shopping. I tried a green skirt that fit
like a Chinese finger trap. I bought a dusty pink
elastic scoop neck blouse and my first pair
of form fitting flared jeans. I found
the perfect pair of sunglasses; finally,
after years of looking, there they were:
clear plastic with green reflective lenses
and only fifteen dollars. I found them in the same place
I found the green snap button cardigan,
and the dress I forgot, then remembered to enter
from the bottom, and wondered if even small breasts
would improve the fit. And before I left
I asked the sales woman for her name
which I forgot as soon as I turned away from the counter.
And wouldn’t remember, not even after crossing
the black starless parking lot.
In the car again, I checked my face in the rear view mirror
and backed out and drove down River Road
to St. George Boulevard, then up Bluff street, passed the fish store,
onto Sunset where my ex used to suffer
through ten and twelve hour workdays,
then turned left on Dixie, down to Mathis Park
opened the garage door, gathered my things
and stepped into the open driveway,
which is where I heard the goose, a single goose
approaching from the Northeast. I heard first
its cracked, hoarse voice, then saw the shallow wing beats,
its neck pulled straight, as if straining to see where it was going.
I stood there
in the driveway,
new clothes in my hand,
green sun glasses pushed back into my hair
my head bent upward into the silver blue of dusk
stretching and twisting
to follow the goose as it passed over the roof,
its voice shrinking into the distance,
bouncing off the orange and red cliffs
wrinkled with millions of years of patience.
I watched long after the goose had gone, then took
and even and complete
breaths. I listened
and watched and stood with my brain in my stomach
and for once I knew what I had to do.
I turned back to the house.
I walked straight through the door and into the bedroom
where I tried everything on again.