Last night the geese came back, slanting fast from the blossom of the rising moon down to the black pond. A muskrat swimming in the twilight saw them and hurried
to the secret lodges to tell everyone spring had come.
And so it had. By morning when I went out the last of the ice had disappeared, blackbirds sang on the shores. Every year the geese, returning, do this, I don’t know how.
The curtains opened and there was an old man in a headdress of feathers, leather leggings and a vest made from the skin of some animal. He danced
in a kind of surly rapture, and the trees in the fields far away began to mutter and suck up their long roots. Slowly they advanced until they stood pressed to the schoolhouse windows.
I don’t know lots of things but I know this: next year when spring flows over the starting point I’ll think I’m going to drown in the shimmering miles of it and then one or two birds will fly me over the threshold.
As for the pain of others, of course it tries to be abstract, but then
there flares up out of a vanished wilderness, like fire, still blistering: the wrinkled face of an old Chippewa smiling, hating us, dancing for his life.