February, 9:37 p.m. Two Canada geese,
clearly a couple, though fifteen feet apart.
They are both healthy, bellies round,
heads alert on walking-stick necks
as they clack uncertainly back and forth
and venture down the middle of the road
that bisects two chunks of Ohio mall.
They have no interest in crossing it:
no grassy medians here, no pond,
no fountain. They ignore my honks,
so I back into the lot and park
to watch their halting, dreamlike search.
They amble to the right, then retrace
to where moon is as strong as streetlight.
They shimmer. Look this way and that.
We are not where we are.
They step and turn and step again,
hew to the middle, having settled
for the road itself, or some spot on it
they both can half-remember.
The mall’s been here ten years.
What is a year? What’s that?
One clacks, the other tilts his head
her way before clacking in return.
Can’t they smell water, fly to it?
Bed Bath and Beyond blinks dead ahead,
while behind me a big bookstore is closing,
holding its final sale, serving coffee
to laptopping college students. Their elders
still wander absently down the aisles,
slowly turning, stopping to lift a volume,
caressing a flyleaf, nudging each other
to look at this, remember this? Then nodding.