The Inevitable Surfacing of Bodies | Daphne Elizabeth Stanford
Daphne Elizabeth Stanford writes poetry and creative nonfiction—as well as songs for vox/piano and dramatic works for the stage, on occasion. Since 2012, she’s hosted “The Poetry Show!” on KRBX/Radio Boise. She holds a BA in English from Reed College, an MAT in Secondary English Education from The University of Iowa, and an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry emphasis) from University of Oregon. Her work has been published by Caesura, Lingerpost Press, The Monarch Review, The Cabin: Writers in the Attic, Cliterature: All My Relations, Rabid Oak, Willawaw Jounal, and Reservoir.
I am a woman who yesterday killed a goose.
That is, I walked through the middle of a flock
causing them to take off flying, all up into the
air, the entire flock, from the movie theatre
parking lot. But there was one goose who flew
straight into a telephone pole. It flew straight
into the pole--or perhaps the line, because
geese know to not fly into trees--and then fell.
The goose landed (thwack!) flat on its back
in a snowbank: neck twisted under, kicking
legs as it watched me: honking, incessant.
Its pain seemed excruciating.
I lacked the nerve to watch; I left
before it could die, unable to bear witness
to life fallen to ground, so easily.
Someone must have buried it, or maybe
it got up on its own. Either way, when
I returned to the same spot, it was gone.
Usually I bury the dead. This time I didn’t.
It hadn’t died yet, and I didn’t want to stick
around to see if it would make it. I wanted
it to survive, but I couldn’t bear the thought
of having been responsible for its death.
I don’t want to do the same thing with you
if we are dying. I want to sit, watch it finish
kicking its webbed feet, masked neck twisted
sickly to one side, broken, beads in its dark
eyes watching me as it honks soft and helpless,
till the noises dissipate into winter air and
the fading light of the afternoon is finally enough,
closing its eyes to pass from this existence into
the next: one of the earth, of being buried in it.