The gateway to the unknown is guarded by two taxidermied geese,
the creatures of terror, tucked under the table just past the door
to my fears, only noticed if one takes the effort to look
down at odd angles while counting down the heartthrums
until the edge of the waterfall.

So, in other words, they’re for me.

I see their feathered horror bodies
and the memory comes as always:
elementary school, outdoor birthday party,
goose wanders to us for food           


*snippity snap*-s at a seven-year-old’s
knee, no injury, only the genesis
of lifelong phobia.

Years later, the sight of two unmoving (dead or fake,
after coming here three times I still can’t tell) is enough to remind me
the reasons why I’ve come: to be brave as an action verb,
a development, to maybe not overcome
but to learn to tolerate.


When I wake up i’m sitting in the passenger seat,
–“mom, my thung feelth like a murshmellow,”–
somehow more aware than I’ve ever been.
It’s not like they told me it would be: that in losing wisdom
I would too lose all control of my own mind, my own words,
that I would spiral into something foregin. No,
I feel no pain, none of the thrum of uncertainty I’ve kept close
like an invisible locket for as long as I can remember.

There’s a hole in my mouth, I remind myself: a hole
where a bone once grew, but did that bone
hold the senriment long since locked up
in my mind, that fear I’d never
been able to rid myself of? Was letting go
of it as simple as falling asleep
and letting my numbed, unhindered hands
release their grasp?

When I dream of geese perhaps it will no longer be a nightmare.