The Owl, For All His Feathers

Aaron Fischer


Hunts in a colder spectrum,
harvesting moths in black light

hears the mouse
husking seeds under the porch,
the tiny hammer of the cat's heart,
the raspy wheeze of the family
dog sleeping on its back.

The girl sliding off her bike, resting
her weight on the chain link.

She's seen the owl float
over the stalks and stubble
of the vegetable garden.

She thinks there's nothing
he doesn't see or hear, even the lie
she has ready when her mother asks
why she's home after dark.

Supper cools on the stove,
her mother's plate rinsed
and slotted in the rack, her door shut.
Blue shifts and flickers
along its bottom edge.

The girl sits in her room,
not doing homework, the curtains
pulled back.

She takes another drag
on her cigarette, still surprised
by the sear and sting, leans
to the open window and lets the smoke
eddy into the dark.

Some nights, just before sleep
she feels her body rise free of the bed
as if riding a thermal.

She wishes the owl would come for her.

She imagines how his talons would feel,
closing on the shoulders
of her hand-me-down sweatshirt,

how they would climb in slow spirals.
She sees the roof-ridge of her house.
a long wedge of light as the back door opens.

Her mother stands on the steps.
Her breath hangs above her like a word
balloon in a comic book.


Aaron Fischer lives and works in New Jersey. His poems have appeared in a recent volume of Free Lunch.

Issue 2

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