“still the geese keep coming”: Meg Kearney’s “Loneliness”


Friends, I’m pretty sure I recommend Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column at least half a dozen times a year, but here I am, at it again.


Last week’s column featured a short poem by Meg Kearney called “Loneliness,” a vignette that illuminates the title emotion.

It’s a little slice out of time; the poem could be describing something that happened last autumn or something out of a fairytale.

And the details are so effective at placing us in the moment: the goose’s foot that feels like the little girl’s hand, the V of the geese that is “two fingers / spread against a caution-yellow sky.” Two fingers in a V is the sign for peace, which the poet plays against the poem’s violence (the father is “about to bring down his third goose” of the day), echoed in the girl’s gesture of kindness that is a severed foot.

What do you think of the poem?