“The Bar-Headed Goose” by Devon Balwit

Devon Balwit


The bar-headed goose flaps on its wind-
tunnel tether. What can it teach us about breathing
where there is little air? Are we the kind
of creature that can learn to chill our blood, hugging

valleys as we sieve for oxygen? The scientist
does her best to stay in place. She is cold.
Her pants beat like wings that have the gist
of flight without its grace. She keeps hold

of the plastic tubing. Perhaps I could rejoice
if I didn’t fear our pushing further into places
we formerly couldn’t reach. The goose’s face
is masked, a machine that gives no trace

of what it wills as an ambassador of its clan.
How hard it flies without escaping man.

from Poets Respond
September 10, 2019


Devon Balwit: “Ironic that so much of what we learn from animals ends up being used against them.” (web)

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