Communing with the Owl – a poem by Joel Moskowitz

Communing with the Owl, May, 2020

Perhaps the owl who lives in Brues woods is my spirit animal,
as Janet says.
I know she’s teasing but I take it as a compliment:
to have a spiritual connection
means I’m sensitive.

From home, I walk to the trailhead,
enter the woods, which feels full of ghosts––
why not believe in them?

When I see the owl in a tree,
I only say “Who”, not “Who cooks for you”––
though it is a barred owl–– I don’t want to insult
with a cartoonish sound.

The owl starts preening its great brown and white chest
as if I’m not there, and indeed I feel hard-to-see.

Small feathers like wisps of candle smoke
fluff away from its body and fall
through the forest-filtered light,
and I reach out my hand and catch one.

I feel its beautiful uselessness in my cupped palm.
Then, I raise the feather to my chest, and hold it there,
wanting the owl to notice me.

I feel like a long dead but still standing tree.
Part of me wants the owl to glide down,
drape its wings on my back.

I want the feather to multiply in a soft breastplate.

Meanwhile Janet is probably in our back yard
watering the keyhole garden.
I pray for her health, our children’s, everybody’s.
I don’t know if I’m praying to god, owl, or air.

.

Joel Moskowitz is an artist and retired picture framer who lives with his wife and cat in Sudbury, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in J Journal, Midstream,Naugatuck River Review, The Healing Muse, MuddyRiverPoetryReview.com, BostonPoetryMagazine.com and Soul-Lit.com. He is a First Prize winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire National Contest.

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