strix varia

you will guess her existence
from the killing-field
tufts of fur strewn
beneath white pines
soft grey-browns
of rabbits, mice, voles

you will suspect her
in the flash of feathers
from a hollow trunk
the burst of flight
caught in the eye’s corner
you will hope
but you will not be sure

then one afternoon
as february lingers
she will startle from sleep
skim low across your path
alight in the branches
of a pine tree

you will stand below
neck craned back
eyes wide against hers
you will see and be seen
you will study her in wonder
so close, so close
as close as breathing

she is death
and she is life
she is here
and she has been here
and she will always be here
and you are here
for a moment