* * *
The guide's boy stands in a corner of the blind,
listening to the distant murmur of the geese
in other coves. His slender fingers part
the cedar boughs that camouflage the blind.
He sees that in the wait for light a goose
has stolen in to swim among the decoys.
The boy kneels down beside the labrador
and shoves his hands under her oily coat,
feels his throat tighten at the rush of wings
on the water across the creek. A hunter's hand
moves to the stock of a gun, and suddenly
there's honking, near and shrill, and then a hush:
the whistle of wings overhead and the guide
whispering, "Call 'em. Now, Son. Call 'em in."
The guide's boy stands again, straight in the spine,
tilts back his head, jaw slack, mouth open, calls
once, pauses, and calls again, long this time,
bright and mournful, so that all the men
turn to see the throbbing of his throat
as he breaks the air into the rhythm of geese
in flight. Listen! His father hushes him.
A silence means the geese are tolling in.
And when he hears the safeties ticking off,
the brush of steel against the cedar boughs,
the boy kneels by the dog and shuts his eyes.