near Chalabre, France






          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

          the goal.   




in Nightsun


& in Homeland