Lungs small as espresso cups
sustain the barred owl; perhaps
his beak stops some of the arctic air
from freezing his sinuses
as there he sits, feathers fluffing up
as this morning’s wind
scatters the snow, makes it fall again.
He has no fear of us walking
beneath the oak tree at forest’s edge,
where his talons curl, feeling
the heartbeat of the trees, its slow sap
breathing, how his down warms
his beige talons, keeps
them from freezing, or is it
only our longing from behind glass
that keeps him warm.
He has no need of us,
but we have so much need of him,
so much reflected light
upon his tallowed feathers,
no fear of eternity in his black eyes
that he turns to stare down at us,
no reflection of us mirrored,
just darkness, a river unending, peaceful, patient.
Poem By Laura Rodley
Laura Rodley’s latest books are Turn Left at Normal by Big Table Publishing and Counter Point by Prolific Press.
I sense your respect and love for the owl. So true, wildlife does not need us, but we need it.
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