Great Grey Owl

I didn’t hear the owl
land in the pine.
I saw the shadow of her wings
spread across the meadow
with the long shadows of trees.

She stood with the sun behind her
shining through the unkept
feathers at her feet.

She never stopped moving
or circling her head
and I wondered what she saw
that made her drop to the ground
so often for nothing.

She caught herself from falling
more than she flew.
heavy, soundless,
tail, wing,
all her feathers open

There had been a rumor of her
but the squirrels had stopped calling.
Now she flew in the open at dusk,
no echo of flight against the ground
no beat of air underneath.

– Alex Leavens

Alex Leavens has worked as a naturalist for the Portland Audubon Society, backcountry ranger and firefighter in the Olympic National Park, and primitive survival instructor in Southern Utah. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Portland State University, and currently lives in Portland, OR.