I’m driving down I-29 after sunset
when an owl appears in the median,
its body ringed by twilight’s halo.
The bird swoops toward me, brakes
before the windshield, and arcs away—
like an airplane lifting off tarmac
into the gray skyline, then banking
against a headwind to change course.
I cruise faster than the speed limit,
the owl’s spectral presence hovering
in my rearview mirror’s blind spot
until I begin to wonder if it isn’t
my father trying to make his peace
with this world, our night, or me,
though he’s been dead over a year.
But what exactly was he trying to say
as the owl flew up and out of sight—
where a rearview mirror just might
but doesn’t reveal much of anything,
only the longing of whoever’s watching
its reflection, just waiting for a sign?
Pen Pearson is the author of BLOOMSBURY’S LATE ROSE, a novel about the poet, Charlotte Mew, which Chickadee Prince Books will publish in 2019.
Design by Steven S. Drachman from an image by Joshua Hogan.