Two Poems
by Laura Ritland


Goose Territory

One of them plucks the intimate
ruffled brown underwings of another. One gimps
a little on black booty rubber, big-shouldered, total
pupil per eye, its bustle making a natural
hushed rustle. One brags a waggish stride, stoops
and salutes the ground with white. One bites another
bites another bites another. Clips the grass
with toothless snips, beak scummy with the taste
of something or other. One poops. One honks, elates
a universal brassy chatter. Pops the air over the bay
where the pasty new condos stand in pastel
displeasure. Not to be a downer, but
our bike tires were overwhelmed, tread gummed
with muckish matter. We could only agree
to agree that this was gross, spread out, found
they’d deposited themselves for acres, shit the size
of pogs. A clatter of beak-chatter, bobbing together,
a mob of flappers and fanning tempers, hustling
their opinions into order. Now one necks another
in the neck, pecks some feathered swag off its ruff, nips
and ducks into the pond where the others stir
in oily flutter, barking about this being
a natural disaster. It’s true: we’re all baffled,
but it’s hard to say which of us
more confuses the other.


October Moon

Between Warden and Victoria station,
I sight the moon’s half-compass, bright
as a cracked dial in the above-ground
subway window. Here I am, being wrong
about kindness. The pact it makes
with the eye shines with goodwill
by a theory whose appearance
is light, light alone.

The mind can’t tighten this high bolt.
Nor can it decide how to understand
its constancy, rigged to a sightline
in the sky’s meridians. Angling,
swivelled in position, I mistake
locations, think I can fathom a proof
for my belonging to all the world’s things.

—From CNQ 97, (Fall 2016)

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