The owl thinks so hard the air
around it shivers like foil.
You’re excited by its presence,
a brown muddle in the larch.
Other birds sound alarms, jays
rasping from deep in their throats,
crows hacking at the atmosphere.
You want me to photograph
this hunter as it thinks of mice,
its brain waves almost visible.
It may look like a slab of bark,
but our friends will admire it
and envy its bottomless poise.
The day darkens into thunder.
We dread these late summer storms,
which sometimes fell large maples
or pepper us with bursts of hail.
The owl will ignore the weather,
shrugging deeper into its feathers
and gripping its perch with talons
firmer than our finest handshakes.
I retreat to my room and clutch
my various timid organs
while you in the kitchen soothe
our pair of tuxedo cats
who stare at the owl outside
with all their instincts tingling.
As the storm breaks, I’m staring
at my photograph of the owl.
Shaped like a loaf of whole wheat bread,
it clutches the perceptible
world around itself and peers
into the imperceptible world
with a focus honed to kill.