I Forgot I Forgot

I forgot I forgot the geese’s
migration. Those fall evenings when
the sky had mellowed and the wind
had remembered the skin of ears, and
I would be walking when
the chorus of honks broke
out of the heavens and woke
me from the moment. I looked up,
every time, to watch the V plow
through winter’s beginnings. There
they flew, beneath the clouds, their
white underbellies pounding
against the gray. Toiling on that
long flight south ever since the hot air
called their names, they cried out
all the way: here I am, here
I am, follow me home
. I didn’t move
as I traced their trajectory
with the longing between limbs—
I didn’t breathe. I held
my head still and contributed
my breath to their journey,
to the hurry of wings. I waited
for their song to fade and
sang nothing myself for days. I gave
the geese a silence carved from
my dreams. And I thought I knew
when I missed the memory, but
it had fled before the creek
froze, before I left the land
of lakes and fallen leaves. There must
have been a fall where they passed
and I saw nothing, not even
their shadows writhing on
that silent earth. What
I would give now for a cold spell,
for a second of unexpected sky,
of birds fighting the wind.

Kathleen Janeschek was born in rural Michigan and currently resides in Taiwan. Her work has been published in BAX 2014, and she has won the Hopwood awards in both poetry and nonfiction.