I am not sure when I traded the sand dollar
for the sound of geese behind the pond –
at first, a part of my mind was always there
at the lip of the wave rushing onto shore
sliding back and leaving the white circle etched with stars.
But yesterday, I listened and heard the long honking of the geese
and saw yellow bundles of the young, falling into the water,
and the waves were ghosts I could only summon at night,
studying the constellations that cover both the sea and this small pond.
It is sure footing to be where your sandal presses against the edge
of where you stand, to feel the wind that has carried you all the way
from the ragged edge of a salty beach to the smooth grass licking the ducks,
with turtles sunning on the dead log, and dragon flies shading your eye lashes.
What a thing to be here, to be now, to know that in the losses and grief
the earth bears, she invites you to know her now, in this place, in this moment,
and when you have passed, she continues: the geese, the sea, and
the mountains and deserts you have not approached. Knowing she will carry you
in her memory, long after you and all others have gone.
Mary Lautzenhiser Bellon