I heard the owl too close
to the house, rustling leaves
skimming the back side
of her wings in air before
she settled atop a dead
birch. From there she surveyed.
I examined her too.
White and black bars across her chest.
Early for me, half-light:
my husband’s breathing, a storm
inside his marrow, violent rush,
upsurge in numbers, balance disturbed.
Rain pelted nests
and flooded woodlands all
last season: drowned the acorns and cedar berries.
Birds of prey scraped wings
across the snow, punched holes
with their talons. She twists her 14
neck vertebrae from my field and toward
the deeper woods,
from where a few fast signals
of singing drift.
Two A notes and a stop.
May she be now exact and swift.
Jayne Benjulian is the author of Five Sextillion Atoms (Saddle Road Press 2016). She lives and writes in the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts, where she coaches prose writers, playwrights and poets.