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  • Julie

A CACOPHONY (OR TWO)


While working at my desk just now (desk being a euphemism for the broken and lumpy thing we sometimes otherwise call a couch), I was jarred into my side profession of Goose Handmaid by a cacophony of honking. I know- cacophony. Feels aggressively pretentious when paired with a story from the frozen shitscape that is a barnyard come deep winter. I assure you though that in matters of goose utterances there is no better word than the one who chooses to define itself in terms like harsh and discordant. It was a cacophony of honking, without debate, and upon hearing it I jumped up aiming to define the peril in which my prize birds found themselves, only to realize they were simply announcing their continued survival on this sun-bright January day. In my haste and for the second time in as many hours, I had also kicked over a quart of water that had been sitting at my feet. I sopped it up with someone's towel (Craig's) and went back to the day's work only to find myself certain again that something was wrong, in the barnyard, with the geese. Or goose. A lone goose stood proselytizing the good word of the sun, or the imminent death of it's brethren, or the second coming of hellish degrees read in mercury- I couldn't really be sure. So I booted up and began calling out what?? with every few steps down the well-packed snowy path. And it was then that the goose went silent and still, watching this indelicate, snow-tromping homestead hag march toward it while making a cacophony in her right. After a moment the goose turned and casually walked into the coop, where at this point I could now see every hen, both roosters, and one, two, three geese bedded down in golden hay, taking shelter as sensible birds do on Tuesdays, in January, on the coast of Maine. All was well.

On my way back in I noticed the boards of our porch sunning themselves in widening ovals of melt. After weeks of relentlessly dependable snowfall and temperatures so low surviving felt heroic, today's double digit day might as well be the coming of spring. I'd like to think the geese knew how comforting the sight of those old worn boards would be to me, and that it was for that alone that they gave call.


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