The Owl

I’d taken the long way home,
from Ripton down to the village.
My headlights lit up
a barred owl, hunting prey.
It flew at me suddenly,
a shock of white that bent
my side mirror inward.
I’d just said goodbye to someone,
the moon not yet up, the night sky
covered in stars from end to end,
and Jupiter shining blue.
We’d taken a rambling path
through the meadow, no rush.
Desire can fade or multiply,
and I knew the kind we had.
Around us, a wall of cricket sound.
Wrapped in each others’ arms so tight
I lost my breath; then we went away.
No way the poor owl had lived,
but still I pulled over, grabbed
a flashlight, and set out into the ditch,
looking for something to save.

Kellam Ayres’s poems have appeared in New England Review, Guernica, The Cortland Review, B O D Y, and elsewhere. She was recently awarded a Vermont Arts Council Creation Grant and has also received support from the Vermont Studio Center. She’s a graduate of both the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and the Bread Loaf School of English. She works for the Middlebury College Library and lives with her family in rural Vermont. Find her at

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