Alba

December before sunrise, I hear the morning
before opening my eyes to worn-flannel light:

scores of geese from the neighboring lake
lift the day into wakefulness, my guess

bound for winter fields uncovered by a thaw
and still flecked with grain. I hear

not honking but a roar that pours over our house

and wonder, before completely conscious,
why they haven’t left in their v’s for the south.

Instead they commute from pond to field and back

illustrating that we eradicate

the world’s most brilliant routes;
that we might never have answers

regarding the cues that send animals on their way
even navigating vast distances to places they’ve never been.

Likewise, a complex dilemma for the red knot
flying from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic —

and swarms of elk, dragonflies, zebras and leatherback turtles
that cross invisible routes.

Like reliance itself. Opening one’s eyes to other questions
from caucus to kitchen. From daughter to granddaughter.

Counting on such a cry
someday waking me from down an invisible corridor.

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