Owl on the Side of the Road

by Pamela Chew


It is nearly noon and the sky is clear.

Like a vampire,

You are not to be out in the daylight

So I suspect the worst.

I wish that you were just sleeping

But your perfectly round head is facing me

As I drive toward the horizon.

Patterned feathers do not scatter

But defiantly remain attached

To your lifeless body on the roadside.

Your right wing and the delicate down underneath it

Rise up and gently float like a gauze veil toward your breast

With each passing vehicle.

It appears as if someone softly blows air from behind you.

Each illusory breath seems to fill your chest only to have it fall again.

Over and over,

As steady as the winter traffic

On this country two-lane.