THE BAR-HEADED GOOSE
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