“Watch for owls.”

I’m pulling out of the driveway on to the moonlit gravel road. Leaning forward in my seat, I look through the windshield, driving slowly, my headlights on bright to illumine the fence posts that line this stretch.

We’ve driven less than 100 yards and Jeb is officially asleep. It’s nearly 2 hours past his bedtime, but that’s what you get to do – even on a school night – when it’s your birthday.

The Bohemian is in the passenger seat at my side, his eyes quietly scanning the outlying fields. This is a one lane road. No street lights. No sounds but for the hum of my motor and the stones that get kicked up by my wheels.

I’ve driven down this road in the dark many nights, often getting the gift of a sighting. Powerful and silent, the white glow of owl wings swishing through my headlights. Once I paused just short of a night-time sentry perched upon the fence, allowing my lights to observe it, its head turning 180 degrees to peer inside my window.

On this track, we can only see as far as my headlights will reach. Beyond that is dark, only lit by stars and moon.

“You should write a poem about looking for owls on this road,” says the Bohemian.

“Mmm. I like that idea. I need a post for the Archives tomorrow,” I say.

He smiles in the dark. “Well that’s going to be about Jeb’s birthday party.”

“Maybe both.”

courtesy of Vic Nic

full of kabobs and chocolate cake
our hair still smokey
from a starlight fire
there are three
driving quietly
down the dark
one lane road

with a gallon of honey
and a sleeping boy
in the back seat
this man and I
we watch for owls

eight years ago
I was alone
when the water broke
and the labor began
bringing life into my arms
to grow
in time
and measure
“How tall am I? I think I’m at your chin!”

tonight we can only see
as far as the light will reach
just beyond its cast
shadowed fields
and dampened grass
soak in shooting stars
realms
too delicate and wild
to be revealed
for now
this man and I
we watch for owls

and he thinks I am a poet
that could possibly tell you
about the magic
of seeking signs
with dim light in darkness

about the beauty of the quiet road
a birthday
my sleeping son
the feeling of an open hand
resting on my knee

I lean closer
to the window
look up
for flutters
in the light

 

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