A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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March 2009, vol 5 no 1

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Clyde Kessler

Screech Owl

The screech owl whickers
where the old logging road ends
ghosts work your blindness

As feeble as stone, as fragile as fire, the echo fades into trees then begins again. You think the voice is everywhere: an owl is made of hollow bones and strange brown feathers; an owl is whispered into every oak, louder than a dozen coyotes howling at stars.

But you are a drunkard again. You almost tell me a bear has climbed from your old whiskey jar. The bear is walking right through your shadow. It waddles like a comedian staged with all the shadows in the world. Every shadow is applauding, cheering, guffawing in your head.

You cannot imagine why I am sober tonight. You begin to walk home through the woods. You begin easing homeward like an old bear waking in midwinter.

The owl sings from atop a snag tree pulling moonlight against fog.

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