In Fairmount Park the Canada geese
migrate from the west side
of the river to the east, from sun
to grass to shade across azalea-
crazed spring days.
These geese roam only the Schuykill River.
These geese will take your offered treats
then bite the hand that feeds them.
These geese will get all up in your business.
These geese leave landmines
of bacterially-loaded fecal matter clusters
in clumps of hundreds everywhere they go.
These geese do what they want, don’t care
what you think, and will give
as good as they get any day of the week.
These are Philadelphia geese.
Our geese—most days
we ignore them, or complain about
their shit and their attitudes.
But in May we watch, needing
the yellow-green gosling announcement
that spring has fully ripened, needing
the traffic-stopped for goose-crossing excuse
for staring at the river rather than hurrying
to work, needing the honking sunset flight
as witness to day’s passing, needing the shock
to our hearts as our geese
fly so close overhead we feel the beat
of their wings through our shared air:
Elliott batTzedek is surprised to find she has lived in Philly for 30 years and probably always will. She holds an MFA in poetry from Drew University and is a bookseller by trade and a liturgist by passion. Or maybe the other way around. Her work appears in: Sakura Review, American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, Cahoodaloodaling, Naugatuck River Review, and Poemeleon. Her chapbook the enkindled coal of my tongue was published in January 2017 by Wicked Banshee Press.