On the highway to Milwaukie, Oregon,

ten grown-up geese, unperturbed by the splash

of passing cars, are hitchhiking west.


Perhaps to the stream behind McGrath’s Fish House

or Westmoreland’s lake or Crystal Springs.

Any place would do beyond this four-lane road

struggling to slough off pounding rain.


The leader sticks out her beak and raises

her right wing. Her entourage stretches to full height.

Three days of gusty storms and they’d rather walk than fly.


I brake my car 50 feet beyond and blink hazard lights. 

A window halfway down, I back up to calculate

their girth. My two-door car, I estimate,

can fit three – four if they don’t mind the squeeze.


When they decline to split – family loyalty

personified – I drive away smiling to myself.

If four hop in, six stay behind –

which reminds me of a Christmas song

about six geese doing something

somewhere in the English countryside.




(Previously published in Peacock Journal.)

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin has published poems in more than 125 journals throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. She is currently the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation. Find out more at www.carolynmartinpoet.com.