Sunday, September 13, 2020

Give a hoot

 Only 95 degrees, so out I wander, at dusk, 
when the bats flutter like punctuation marks lit by a red moon.
Onward to the owl tree
where I wait
 beautiful feathered bloomers 
and talons
sharp as razors

 The Great Horned Owl

is awake,

facing away from me

 preparing for the evening fly-out

scanning the sky from a great  height

Whoo whoo hoo-hoo 

I call

The owl turns, first head then body

    A woman parks her car near me, in the driveway of the home of her elderly mother, 
who she tends devotedly.
watches me watching, 
asks what I see
"Oh, the owls are back?" she asks. "I rarely see them unless they hoot," she says,
 turning and walking away, to her mother
The owl has also turned away from me, again, so I hoot. 
The owl responds with a full-on glare.
 The woman, not turning back says, "There it is, the hoot." 
Pleased,  I say "No, that was me."
Further along, in the almost  dark,
I ask another neighbor why she is walking without her Akita.
We mourn together at the necessary death, 
the gift she gave to her elderly dog,
a missed companion.
The woman, whose family has been in Tucson forever, rallies and tells me 
about two Mojave rattlesnakes she has seen lately.
I picture the shape of those heads.
We don't talk about the strength of their venom,
but we know.
Masked, walking six feet apart,
 we go looking for snakes,
 finding none.
 A Cooper's hawk watches us as the bats flicker and dive.
I return home, every bit of cloth sticking to me


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