Dan Guenther is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a regular contributor to this blog. The author of four novels, his Glossy Black Cockatoos was the 2010 Colorado Authors’ League award selection for genre fiction. His collection of selected poems, The Crooked Truth, won the following year for poetry.
Snow geese passing through the High Plains
© Dan Guenther 2015
A flight of migrating snow geese
through the April twilight.
You are following them northward along Route 85
toward that place where the big flocks rendezvous,
where every fall your grandfather
carried his reticence to a community coop
with buckets of apples.
During the day he snoozed in his orchards
between milking Holsteins,
and spent evenings home schooling seven kids.
He could dowse for water with an L-shaped rod,
and once spoke with an Archangel
while goose hunting near the Wyoming border:
that jealous uncle ridicule your grandmother
who believed in reincarnation,
and how she wept,
running off for a week to wander the backcountry?
Like the waterfowl in transit overhead
your grandparents lived in tune with a wilder spirit,
and were never quite one with the rest of us.
When asked by your children and grandchildren
best recall them both not for their shortcomings,
but for their example of hard work and independence,
and for the brutal beauty of things that they loved
about the high plains, including each other.