Dust to Dust – a poem by Sheila Wellehan

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 & LyreRust + MothThimble Literary MagazineTinderbox Poetry Journal, and many other journals and anthologies. She lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Visit her online at www.sheilawellehan.com .

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