The owl squared up and not benign:
there’s eyes and eyes and a way
of looking past brown feathers to
beak and claw.
Mottled is not enough of a word
for its brow, the pocked feathers
around the face; led up to
by dark lines, like scratches at
It favours the twitch of ear
to wisdom, prefers the scuttle
of rodent to the big moon.
We give it a ridiculous call -
as if Hoot were close -
Tu-whit-tu-whoo does no favours,
but we try. Listen to the way the word
Screech might hold in the dusk,
might frighten, as it should.