The Owl by Deborrah Corr

Art by Susan Patrick (

From the branch above, half concealed
in new oak leaves, silent, the barred owl
watches with giant eyes, round as the pool
at my feet. Its body, is all of a piece, no indentation
even for a neck. If I could reach high enough,
my fingers might stroke it in one long move
from head to base, flat-handed, barely a touch,
feeling the slightest tickle of feather, like the way,
as a child, I’d kneel by the mud puddle, hover my hand
over the brown water, lower my arm bit by slow bit,
trying to touch the surface without a ripple, no disturbance.
Like the way I’d learned to stand so still I could study
snakes, my eyes on the thin cord of their bodies,
no noise to make them curve into an S and rustle
into the brush. Like how I could slink away
from a room full of yelling voices before hands
could aim a slap at the side of my head.
Adept at sidestepping, but swallowing a fill
of shame as I left. Adept at silent watching
from a branch, my feathers so still you’d think
they were formed by the fingers of a potter,
molded and fired to hard immobility. Only careful hands
can keep it from shattering. I don’t want to shatter
any fragile thing, any small thing that glitters in the light,
that dazzles for its short moment. I don’t want to be
the shattered one, like a vase left too close to the edge.
My talons clutch the branch so hard it could bleed.
Unlike this owl who watches for wriggling in the grass,
and with a sudden swoop, fueled by fiery desire,
dives into fear, and with mouth and feet extracts
exactly what it needs, blood and all.

Deborrah Corr
Deborrah Corr lives in Seattle. She is a retired teacher who now works at the joy and craft of poetry. Her poems have appeared in several print and online journals including The Main Street Rag, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Sequoia Speaks, and Amethyst Review.

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