A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2008, vol 4 no 1

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Stephen Nelson


Goose! Goose!

Walking to the ponds to see a pair of breeding geese. In the distance the hum of motorway traffic. Even so a stillness settles on the water, flat calm except for the occasional ripple of a dipping branch. A family of ducks floats motionless on the surface at the centre of the pond. Round a shoulder of land a pair of swans drift in towards the bank – stately, majestic – and behind them, as if being ushered to a throne, the female Greylag. She looks older now, folds of skin hanging from the stiff curve of her neck. I see no sign of her partner. The swans sail towards me, warning me off.

From the woods alongside, a man emerges carrying a bag of breadcrumbs. He makes for the pond calling out: “Goose! Goose! Here Goose.”

When he sees me, he halts, turns on his heels, and quickly makes off.

40th anniversary–
she pops a piece of frosting
in his mouth