Autographs – Bryn Homuth

At night-morning, we fill a trailer:
coils of a prairie-grass blind,
buckets, guns, and decoys so real
you’d think the beaks might snap alive,
swivel, feather brush into flight.

Soybean stalks crunch post-harvest,
nubs like speed bumps
as we drive a dark field’s edge, then stop—
If they come in, they’ll land here.
Into the wind.

I sip coffee as others assemble
a gaggle: craned skyward,
tucked into wing,
necks dipped in a nose
for dry, buried beans.
Drop, drop, arrange, shift, drop,
placed as though by a pattern in the soil,
a confidence the first hunters would have envied
had they leisure to think
beyond instinct and hunger.

Abreast on five-gallon pails,
boot-to-boot, we wait—
sunrise of pink and orange,
mallard flocks’ wing-flap like the rush of rain
from falling to fallen,
a fate planned for the birds,
harbingers of shotgun and steel.

Geese lift from the lagoon mid-morning,
curl into black dotted lines like smoke
at a ceiling, a sketched boundary
between earth and sky.
Let’s see if we can sign on one of them
one says—a plump detaches, angles our way.
Down! Calls honk. Honk again.
Up—fire! Booming barks, spent shells
bank left—they’re gone.

I watch them until my vision blurs
from are
to might have been
to never were,
where, if there is such a place,
they touched down
to awaiting goslings
who had already heard
of the three who cheated death
and were standing in line for autographs.


“Bryn Homuth has recent poems published or forthcoming in The Maine Review, The Tishman Review, and The Turnip Truck(s), among others in various print and electronic journals. His work has previously been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for the Best of the Net Anthology. Bryn currently lives near Minneapolis, MN and is working on his first full-length collection of poetry while teaching English courses for Crown College.”

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