Mothering

Two Mothers Stranded in the World

Sebastopol_goose_and_gosling

by Terry Godbey

She circles, distraught and loud,
and like any expectant mother
displays an unfortunate waddle.
Behind her, a man emerges from the lake,
shoes and shins dripping,
holding her glistening oval
found on a lily pad
where it lay like a woman sunning.
He places it in the nest and she tests it gently
with her webbed foot, sits down
and settles in. Finally, explanation,
a boy had sailed the egg
into water two hours earlier.
The goose shuts her eyes, complete.
All around the air sighs with us,
and crape myrtle blossoms
fall feathery at our feet.
A woman breaks the silence:
“My son is going to Iraq.
We’re pretty torn up about it,
but if the goose got her baby back,
that means I’ll get mine back too,”
her voice thin as an eggshell,
and cracking.

From the collection Beauty Lessons.

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