Barnacle Goslings

Barnacle Goslings

Image credit:

An ESME Sister shares her fear in a poem

shocked and appalled

after i’d watched a video of Barnacle goslings jumping from a nest

hundreds of feet up

jumping down to their parents

jumping down to a slammed against jagged rocks death

those that survived were called to but not waited for

cheeping out while taking hurried steps

injured and desperately trying to catch up

to parents who did not pause

why couldn’t this be done another way?

birds mere days old

tiny with no idea how to fly

why not make nests lower to the ground

or carry them down beak full like a pelican



had to be better than hatchlings following trusted honks

alive a handful of days just to die

years have passed and yet this lingers

for some reason it never left me

the planet’s most lousy parent award

i’ve even jokingly revisited the disgust multiple times

the lingering recently morphed into a haunting

i checked on my son the other day

he’s 14 and to the untrained settler’s eye they’ll say he looks 16

our children aren’t afforded the luxury to be seen as such, not for long you see

he’s barely tannish, hazel green eyes, full lips

afro picked out perfectly

and worn as a crown

a fail-safe

just in case his lighter complexion would confuse

the desire to blend in or pass revolting

he’d been online and began to describe the latest crime against his kind

a Black man forced to crawl on his belly

chin touching the ground

toward police with guns drawn

and what was the crime?

standing in his own garage

i tried my best not to show it

but in that moment

all the accusations i’d spewed toward the Barnacle geese

they came rushing

filling up every space within me

flooding with barely any room to move or breathe

why couldn’t this be done another way?

why have a child and call them to follow you knowing what they meet after they leap

could be their end?

i have been trying not to drown in these thoughts ever since

i am no better than these birds once thought of as being birthed by the sea

my son is no safer than Barnacle goslings

Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions.

Send to friend

Download our ESME app for a smoother experience.

Get the app Get the app