A Goose Mistakes a Solar Farm for a Lake
Don’t worry, goose: it is easy to be mistaken about water.
Just the other day, I watched a dragonfly skim the black mirror roof of my car, reaching for a cool pond. Its heavy abdomen thunked once, twice, before it realized its mistake.
And, you know, crocodiles do cry — but only to clear the silt from their eyes or because, a researcher in Florida claims, they hiss while they feed, which forces air through their sinuses, triggering the glands that hold their tears.
(What a sight, that! The clumsy lever of their jaw, the ragged flesh of their meal, and then a cool clean tear, which ancient writers called “weeping”, though we all know that one tear might or might not signal weeping, and weeping might or might not signal feeling, and feeling might or might not signal that the creature cares, one iota, for its prey).
But still, I know it must be alarming, to see at first the faraway glint of water and then the long arrow of the setting sun and to tilt your body toward that shimmer, back-draft your wings, spread your two awkward feet behind you and anticipate the cool sluice of the landing, the rocking of the green water as you compose yourself on its scum-flecked surface, and to meet only polycrystalline tiles, your webbed claws scraping across silicon, your whole body tumbling sideways, wings akimbo, ungraceful, ungainly, embarrassing! How cruel the grip of gravity!
Don’t honk. Body bruised, ego bruised, take a moment. Preen. Fold and re-fold your wings. Re-calibrate your senses; is that, a few miles away, a whiff of stagnant water?
Rebecca Orchard studied classical music at the Peabody Conservatory before baking professionally for seven years to support her writing habit. She now has her MFA in Fiction from Bowling Green State University and is currently in the PhD program at Florida State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Passages North, Exposition Review, Tammy, The Pinch, The Baltimore Review, and elsewhere. Much of her work can be read at rebeccaorchardfiction.com
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