His beak could open a bottle, and his eyes -- when he lifts their soft lids go on reading something just beyond your shoulder -- Blake, maybe, or the Book of Revelation. Never mind that he eats only the black-smocked crickets, and dragonflies if they happen to be out late over the ponds,
and of course the occasional festal mouse. Never mind that he is only a memo from the offices of fear -- it's not size but surge that tells us when we're in touch with something real, and when I hear him in the orchard fluttering down the little aluminum ladder of his scream -- when I see his wings open, like two black ferns, a flurry of palpitations as cold as sleet rackets across the marshlands of my heart, like a wild spring day.
Somewhere in the universe,
in the gallery of important things,
the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish,
sits on its pedestal.
Dear, dark dapple of plush!
A message, reads the label,
from that mysterious conglomerate:
Oblivion and Co.
The hooked head stares
from its blouse of dark, feathery lace.
It could be a valentine.