Monday, July 31, 2006

Tree Ghost

There's a rush, a rustle
among branches of a conifer,
& then mutable silence rushes in
like after a fight or making love.
The wings settle. The third eye
blindfolded. Hunger always speaks
the same language. Branches shudder
overhead, & the snowy owl's wingspan
seems to cool off the August night
with a breathing in & breathing out.

I close my eyes & can still see
the three untouched mice dead
along the afternoon footpath.
The screeching nest is ravenous.
The mother's claws grab a limb.
Now, what I know makes me look down
at the ground. I can almost feel
how the owl's beauty scared the mice
to death, how the shadow of her wings
was a god passing over the grass.

Yusef Komunyakaa
TriQuarterly 121
Guest Edited by Stuart Dybek