What the Barn Owls See

A Poem by Adrian Slonaker

From a ruddy brick alcove at
St. Francis Preparatory School,
a duo of barn owls with onyx eyes
witness the wisps of trampled grass
and pools of putrid brown:
another non-frozen January-
the fourth in a row-
click hooked beaks brimming with
stories of snowbanks once so bloated
they reached the branches
on the cherry trees that are sprouting
leaves out of season.
The birds heard of the hostilities of
humans responsible
for the brutal mobbing
the weeping girl with glasses
suffers from six mocking
hopscotchers who repeat their toxic taunts
during every recess,
for mangling the climate,
for planting the pesticides
that poison the nestlings
and the bombs and landmines
maiming and massacring homo sapiens.
Despite the slander
the owls damn with doom and death
the wingless hulking creatures of chemical,
cruelty, equal-opportunity destroyers.

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