. What Geese May Teach My mother had the power that knowledge wields, So questions such as—Would you like to go? Were never invitations, but commands To fly away, cross yellow fields and low, Like summer insects, stuck upon windshields. A raggle-taggle group we were, and so Like sandflies could not change what time demands. Beneath a half-known psychic undertow, My mother screeched her well-worn, wearing wheels As we pulled up to watch the wild geese soar In ordered honking triangles. Much more, We’d missed such ordered symmetry before. . . The Desk and the Dove The morning sun rose; it was May When cirrus clouds clung to the roof And Mama rang. I wondered why— Most times she was reserved, aloof. What do you want, this natal day? She must have planned some secret spoof, As flickering wings flew whistling by, Around her memories of youth. Dear desk, you glowed from an array Of dusty walnut, yet forsooth! A dove within my mother’s eye Looked out at me; I knew the truth. Upon my yellow desk, a dove Had settled, and its name was love. . . Trumping The Inevitable Once in my younger days I got so hammered I wrecked my cousin’s wedding at her house. The guest stood on her royal rug like ramrods. Snickered, and stared. I should have been a mouse. Much earlier she mentioned a dead friend Who, rising from a bridge game after lunch, Announced I’m dying! and This is the end!— Then fell dead on the purple floor. A hunch? I marveled at this lady’s sense of timing— She trumped, then rose to Jesus in the sky, While I, who could mix colors, do some rhyming, Had zero social skills, and wondered why. I was the hapless guest who filled the sink With vomit (validation of my presence), Then crept away from all the sounds and stink You never could forgive. The local peasants Saw shocking stains spread on your tasteful floor, Indelible; which meant that I was cursed To never own old thumbprint glass, or four Puce velvet chairs, a fenced-in garden—worse, No tongue that knew to tell my indiscretions To Jesus, who could smooth and make things straight, And no assurance, gentle intercessions, No cards with which to trump your scornful state. . . Sally Cook is both a poet and a painter residing in upstate New York. Her poems have also appeared in Blue Unicorn, First Things, Chronicles, The Formalist Portal, Light Quarterly, National Review, Pennsylvania Review, TRINACRIA, and other electronic and print journals. A six-time nominee for a Pushcart award, in 2007 Cook was featured poet in The Raintown Review. She has received several awards from the World Order of Narrative and Formalist Poets, and her Best American Poetry Challenge-winning poem “As the Underworld Turns” was published in Pool.