“Owl Survey”

Ponder Review. Spring 2018 (Print)

Far away from neon-washed surfaces
of Western expansion, stars hum
thin stories of tremendous
histories and violent beginnings,
spinning gestalts of chaos and order.
She is counting owls,
my daughter, in the Siskiyou National Forest.
Nocturnal citizens
forage underfoot,
a micro theater of ecology,
home to grubs and snails
devoured each in turn by small
mammals and reptiles
to canticles
of early spring peepers,
a din of toads.
2:00 a.m.
She cradles
a hollow-boned spotted owl
with eyes cavernous
and silent
as still well water,
an unexplained echo
of wilderness
in contrast to the silver band
she’s cinched around its feathered leg.

First published in Ponder Review