Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Barred Owl in the Larch



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.


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