Dust to Dust A tiny brown feather clings to my window. It belonged to a barred owl who flew into the glass two years ago. I heard such a loud smash, I expected broken glass and a tree limb, not feathers and a dead bird in my yard. The ghost owl thrived on my window for three seasons – a perfect white imprint of plumage, wings, and beak conjured by the bird’s feather dust. The image was startling in its detail and precision. It kept me safe – my own sacred Jesus in Veronica’s cloth. As the ghost faded, its protective powers failed me. Those I loved the most died or disappeared. Then a storm drowned what remained of my ghost owl – every hint of avian anatomy vanished. Just one feather was spared. Now every morning, I check the window for that tiny brown feather. I fear what will happen when it finally falls.
Sheila Wellehan‘s poetry is featured in Psaltery & Lyre, Rust + Moth, Thimble Literary Magazine, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and many other journals and anthologies. She lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Visit her online at www.sheilawellehan.com .