The Owl

by Michael Schmidt

Michael Schmidt

A piece of moon is tangled in the ash.
The magpies are unnaturally awake
Scrabbling, making little noises in their throats.
Did my footsteps on the path disturb them?
You chose the other man and you were wise.

I am out walking to distract myself.
You are impaled on him, you ride him tight.
I am out walking to distract myself.
Why are the magpies restive? It's the owl.

Her voice is saying Oh and then is silent.

Has she already spread her appalling wings,
plunged from her high perch into the dark?
Is she coming where the magpies fatten
Their broods on thigh, on wing, on egg and plumage
In the hollow tree bole lined with shit and straw?

She with her great snub beak spread wide, her talons
Pointed like spikes, her eyes two moons, whole moons

In which her quarries see their mirrored terror
Just as she closes in, she whirs and gathers
Whatever she wants out of the tree like fruit...

I am out walking to distract myself.
You are impaled on him and breathing fast.
The magpies are alarmed in the blind night.
A beam of moon is snared in the ash and cooling.
I stand by the trunk like a trunk, and there's the owl.

Last updated July 18, 2021