Brooke Matson: “The New Season (Canada Geese)”

The New Season (Canada Geese)

To live in rivers is to live among mirrors. My family—we are grafted
from one another, sprouting along the river rock like lichen. I have mistaken
their wings for mine, recognized their coal-black beaks dipping among
the yarrow and felt my own hunger raise its neck. Once I looked into my own
eyes and saw a raging falls, a red stream of salmon twisting like a muscle
across the land, a fire running with yellow feet across the bodies of trees.

A moment ago, I floated among the sedges—the ones with roots that taste
like the caps of mushrooms—the water smelling of rusted steel. Goslings
pushed their tiny bodies across the current, following their mother’s wake
like beads of dew running across a spider’s thread. Then I tasted the delicate,
warm dust, bitter with the sap of unfamiliar trees. It fell around us
like a new season.

Maybe it is the sun pausing like a hot ember in the clouds, or maybe
it’s the scent of burnt feathers mingled with pine, but my sister says
the word first. My call follows hers—like the goslings following
their mother—and then we are all calling with our blackened mouths,
the memory lifting us like a many-winged river from the earth. I glide higher
among the flock, heart pounding, and as I do, the sun itself flies down to rest
on the water, fanning its red wings.

—Brooke Matson

Used by permission of the author. Read more of Brooke’s work.

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