In Owl Weather
In the pamphlet, on page three, you will find me
Clutching the yellow parasol, the one I used
To get away with carrying. I loved once, in
The long-ago, nesting in the empty granary
With my barn boys, all of whom then wanted
Me. How many nights it was I did not wed
Them, preferring the company of animals
Who did not speak and slept curled to me and set
Me free thereafter to the feral dark, and then
To overwintering. In owl weather I am
Apprentice to the common law of harm.
No rook, no reed, no rain, only
Overhearing in the next room
The Surrealist's boot growing into
The foot-soldier's missing hank
Of limb on the terrible concrete in the city
Of Tehran. This is the hour when no living
Creature can lean its forehead into my hand.
The owl in the barn is so still
No one takes my word that he is real.
In the pamphlet, on page seven, you will find me
As a tiny odalisque on the endless blanket
Of the bower of my mother's bed, coquettish,
In a poplin nightgown and my mallow-color shoes,
With all my lionlikes about me—it is clear I am
Quite pleased with me. I wonder, can he
Look up to the slip of moon late days
At the very moment I am looking too,
I wonder, is he warm, somewhere, in hay.
Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright © 2013 by Lucie Brock-Broido
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.