The goose was in love with three ganders and they loved her in return —
unheard of in the annals of barnyard literature. The farmer, a woman
with no time for romance, tried to ignore the gaggle of caterwauling
outside her bedroom window. Men, she’d mutter. Who needs one? Man
or no man, she was in over her head, mortgage and loans and rising
interest rates. She needed to downsize, which worried the animals,
especially the goose. A month earlier, on her twenty-fifth birthday, she’d
laid her last egg. Now, no matter how she bore down — not one white orb.
This could mean one thing only — that she’d have to go. But where would
she go? And how could she bear it? Like all lovesick birds, the ganders
were a font of ideas and suggested the goose feign broodiness. An
excellent plan, she said, and plunked herself down and refused to leave
her nest, even to eat or drink. Day and night her adoring ganders
gathered to recite sonnets in praise of her fertility. After the third debt
collector had driven off, the farmer summoned her hapless waterfowl.
You’ve laid more eggs than any other goose, she said, and I am grateful,
but you are old, old girl, and now you must return to the bee balm and
sky. Too dignified to make a fuss, the goose arranged her head on the
chopping block and the axe came down. Instead of blood, a bouquet of
dandelions sprouted from her neck. The ganders watched in awe as the
bright yellow clusters turned swiftly to seed balls. Puff, they whispered,
Published online February 16 2016.
Patricia Young has published eleven collections of poetry and one of short fiction. She recently won Geist’s Tobacco Lit Contest.