The Caller

  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.