by Omar Essa
The geese are unkind. They stand militant along the border of the pond like NYPD officers during parades in Manhattan, as if the pine trees were the skyscrapers they’re meant to defend. They were absent during the lightning and torrential rain that had only just ended. They had clearly known when the violence was about to bring judgement unto the water; they’d vanished just in time and returned once a light drizzle was all that remained. They often fight with each other. I am convinced one of them- distinguishable for his unique gray feathers which are a darker shade than the others- must be sleeping with all the other geese’ wives, as they always try to fight him and they yell back and forth at each other, in a suspiciously organized half circle with Darker-Goose in the center, throwing insults at him in their revolting honk-language. Darker-Goose always stands his ground and usually triumphs in any engagements of physical aggression.
A heron lives on the pond as well and usually observes these conflicts from the shallow parts of the water, standing tall but hunched like a disapproving bard. I often wonder what the heron’s name is. Surely in any children’s book like those my mother was fond of reading to me- the subgenre that curses animals with the ability of speech- the author would have given it the name of one of the ancient Greco-Roman philosophers, but I like to think its name is Vernon.
Often I sit out here with marble knuckles barely keeping connected shaking and unfaithful hands that spill my coffee and drop my cigarettes into my lap when I try to raise them to my lips. I come out on the balcony to meditate in my personal, outre fashion but these non-narcotic stimulants make me tense and don’t help with the frequent, subtle shaking. In the past thirty-six days I’ve marked my outfits with more burn holes and coffee stains than the previous six years.
I sit out here to forget. My mother forgets a lot of things, but only in certain moments. She will not remember memories I was sure we shared in one conversation, but after some time has passed and I bring that same memory to her again she will smile and relive it with me. This is the type of forgetting I try to mimic when I breath in the scent of the trees and absorb the sounds of the cardinals and water falling into water and even the shitty wails of the geese.
Forget the money, you don’t need it anyway. Forget the failures and the girls and forget your emotions. Forget the aesthetics and your purpose because it’s meaningless and these thoughts are going to ruin everything WE are working for. Forget the money even though it’s all that matters.
The geese are getting hostile again, and in the moment I was trying to forget everything my cigarette had burned down to the filter between my fingertips, dripping ash onto my bare right foot. Forget the ash. Forget the geese. Forget the silence when you pray and the noise you hear when everyone else hears silence. The noise is me telling you who you are and you should forget me too. For a moment you are nothing. Forget your job and your mother who forgets- and the untouchable money forget your money and their money and all the damn money- and forget about the world and the hyperbolic disaster of America and all the beautiful music in the world and every-
A gorgeous bolt of lightning struck me into consciousness to which, seconds later, a roll of thunder replied. The geese flew out in a disorganized frenzy, shrieking and shameful. The heron was already gone, of course, because it knew dimensions more than any goose about the way things are and what they will be. That is why it had to find a pond to live on with no other herons.
About the Author:
Omar Essa is an aspiring writer and poet from New York. The son of an Egyptian and and an American, His work focuses mainly on emotional and social conflicts explored through accounts of personal experiences.