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Image by Hugues de Buyer-Mimeure
The owl outside, across the street, in the dogwood,
calls out at two, three, almost into the dawn hours.
New moon, he calls, or maybe, who are you,
clear through the brick walls, my husband’s steady snoring.
I love the sounds of the small hours, rustling sheets,
distant trains. Lavender scented pillows,
the smell of bonfire in my hair, apple cider.
We burned logs and brush, junk mail and last year’s papers,
boxes left over from Christmas. The stars
snuck up on us, cold-bright, the moon just a sliver.
I thought I saw him then, hunting in the meadow,
a shadow shaped like wings, a new month, sleep.
I dreamt of triplets
The smallest a baby bird
Sinew and bone
Without the win fullness of feathers
The next swaddled in paper
Words around torso
Tucked between notebook pages
Like a book-mark
The third suckled
The smell of yeast and honey
Damp hair over fontanel
See these veins in arm
See this muscle flexed in wrist
Our bones remember how to fly
The call to air
Absence in my arms
The scent of old paper
Keri Withington is an educator, vegan, and pandemic gardener. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She has published two chapbooks: Constellations of Freckles (Dancing Girl Press) and Beckoning from the Waves (Plan B Press). Withington lives with her husband, three children, and four fur babies in the Appalachian foothills.