Martin Elster

Canada Goose

I feed this goose that cannot fly
but swims on the pond in the local park
with her mallard pals. Will she be lonely
when ice starts spreading across her home,
a home for Khaki Campbells, too,
plus catfish? I come every day

to see if she’s still there. (Someday
she won’t be.) Gaudy butterflies 
and dragonflies are absent. Too
damn cold for them now in the park.
The last day of the year. Our homes
with holiday lights, though far from lonely,

perch on a pale blue pebble, lonely,
whirling, revolving day by day,
zipping across cold vacuum. Home:
A pond? A house? A world? I fly
in time to the earliest living spark:
a molecule which split in two.

Over eons and eons, too
slowly to fathom, across a lonely
globe, a planetary park
of beings appeared and perished. Day
now draws its curtains as I fly
back to the bird whose liquid home’s

the only one she’s known, this home
of muddy banks and algae, two
islands of leafless trees. Jets fly
trailing their contrails between the lonely
cirrus clouds. Later today
fireworks will thunder, spark

the fire of spirits in the park
downtown. I’ll hear the bombs from home
as the birds will from their pond. Today’s
a day the pond birds revel, too—
as every day. Above the lonely
sycamores, the goose will fly

across this park, the cosmos, to
her home among the moons, the lonely
stars. In daydreams, we both fly.
Ice Cream Man 

There was a man who had no plan
   and didn’t know the route,
who squandered all the season’s haul
   and ran off, destitute.
His ice cream truck never made a buck
   from famished girls and boys
who heard its chime, but had no dime
   for what every kid enjoys.

A brand-new-comer for the summer,
   he cast a magic spell —
a vanilla beam of dog-day gleam.
   On catching his mellow bell,
the moms complained and hoped it rained
   but sadly it never did.
That fabricated, sugar-baited
   goo could kill a kid!  

Yet every day, their tots would play
   around the ice cream truck.
Each got to eat a freebee treat
   while moms all uttered, “Yuck.”
Though they would shout, their kids flew out
   the door. They were ecstatic
when hearing that bell and smelling the smell
   of fumes, so enigmatic.

Before he told his boss he’d rolled
   through town to lose his yield,
the man made tracks so the ruthless axe
   wouldn’t fall, and went afield.
Now the grownups beam, but the kids all dream
   of ice cream. All they do
is watch TV, have cookies with tea
   and night and day they’re blue. 

There was a man who had no plan
   and didn’t know the route,
who squandered all the season’s haul
   and ran off, destitute.
His ice cream truck never made a buck
   from gloomy girls and boys
who, from time to time, still hear it chime
   like a far-off church bell’s noise.

Martin Elster, who never misses a beat, was for many years a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Martin’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies in the US and abroad. His honors include First Place in the Traditional Sonnet category of the 2022 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest, Rhymezone’s poetry contest (2016) co-winner, the Thomas Gray Anniversary Poetry Competition (2014) winner, the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s poetry contest (2015) third place, four Pushcart nominations, and a Best of the Net nomination. A full-length collection, Celestial Euphony, was published by Plum White Press in 2019.