The Goose: A Diptych
I dreamed of a canoe, and of the two of us: I was new on the lake. Streaming through the murk, the
cellar scent of blue and brown water, and you, my new love, saying nothing, only rowing us
backwards deftly. At the lake’s deepest point: a miniature goose—a full grown adult, though not five
inches high, resting on an island of ice, mid-June. Tenderly I scooped it. Its feet were frozen in a
lump of ice, but it stood on my palm as quiet and unmoving as you, who waited with paused oars,
seeming not to care much about the goose, but caring about my care. I rubbed my fingers over the
ruly bird’s webs to warm them, and the ice melted all shiny and dewy as the goose stared into the
distance, patiently or bluely, I could not tell. The goose free, we moved on.
Tuesday night I felt a stabbing at the bottom of my foot; ignoring it I woke in the morning to the
same pain and could not run. You sat with me in the dining room and took my foot in your palm
and tried to maneuver the splinter out, spaded with your tweezers the dip in the soft spot of the
sole, right beneath the ball, asking, “Does this hurt?” I wanted to answer, “Yes, and I love you,” but
I could not tell you I loved you while you held in your hands something so rude as my dirty and
wounded foot. You could not remove the splinter, but with time it came loose on its own, or else
the soft cheek of my sole grew hard enough to enclose the shard.