The Night we Called the Owls
New lovers in a new country,
we drove the moonlit cedar road,
through rolling farmland, green and rich,
to the silent bottom, hardwoods, river,
we hid the car, walked softly under
White Oak snags, raw silhouettes,
swamp watchers on the hill, and I
surprised you when I gave
that single cry to the ringing woods,
that breaking call you didn’t know I
made. You squeezed my fingers; somewhere dark
the answer rose, a question in the owl-man’s code.
I teased by waiting, offered out my falling
note; it spoke again, the distance halved,
and from all corners of the chilly woods they rushed,
In the tree tops now, I said—
wings beating, here they flew
loud cackly harsh, smooth hollow piercing,
music and insane laughter too, their
ice-rich chords from different dreams.
Could they attack? I nodded,
One’s been known to carry off a child.
You shuddered at the spirit choir of
clear note-bending souls, their chaos rising and we
hurried through salt cedars to the waiting car,
our wilderness moment edging wrong but
gifting a fine beginning in the living land, that
chance we would not feel again.
Bio: Luke Wallin holds an MFA from Iowa and teaches in the MFA program of Spalding University. He has published stories, essays, books for children and young adults, books on nature and culture, poems, and songs. Contact at: Luke Wallin, PO Box 12341, Wilmington, NC 28405; 401-864-4854; firstname.lastname@example.org; visit at lukewallin.com.