How old was I
when I saw the owl floating
like a lean ship toward the high harbor
of the oak tree, its leaves breathy with summer.
Not like you think, not
the classic arch of wings and heart-shaped face--
It was not like any bird I had ever seen.
The way it leaned its neck out long
above the awkward keel of its body
as the soul unconcerned with prettiness
cleaves the world before the shuddering heart.
As if its wings were reluctant, slow oars—
or was that too a kind of faith
in the body of the air, the absolute distance
of the oak that was not going anywhere
else in this life. I caught my breath
and stood still, aching. How long
it was going to take me, how green and near
& in Homeland