Shorter on Mercy

Injured Canada Goose swimming in a pond with bare trees in background

One injured goose
left behind at Third Dam
no flock mates in sight
she swam through the gloam
right wing splayed, not tucked in,
head down as a plane flew over
and I said a prayer
that she recover soon
fly off, find a new flock,
or become a lucky break
for a young coyote
learning to hunt,
wishing either outcome swift.
November’s night shadows lengthen
November’s days grow shorter on mercy
reserving grace for those
professing gratitude –
instead I offered a bargain.
Some of my blessings
for an end to her suffering.
A slender aspen quaked reproach
“You know that’s not how it works.”
And I grumbled back,
“I’m just a human. The only thing
clear this year
is that we know nothing.”
And to this, two hemlocks
creaked their approval.


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