Susan Denning’s work has appeared in Filter, New York Quarterly, Quick Fiction and elsewhere. She edited the online magazine Caffeine Destiny for 13 years, and is one of the editors of the anthology Alive At The Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest. She lives in Portland, where she teaches writing and works at Literary Arts.
Sight Comes to Owls Slowly
They leave their nests and their foreheads ache.
They think the day wants to hurt them.
So when I wore my owl suit the atoms of owls
shifted inside me. I climbed into the sky
and they believed me possible owl. I flapped my wings
like night and hidden but I was not so sure
an owl. First I wore the body and then
I wore the head and when I asked for trees
they gave me trees but not how I wanted,
not like limbs to practice dives from sky to bigger sky,
but trees that bent their branches to land me
safely in the sky. Daughter on the ground
but in the sky I rested. When the night was tall
my wings, where trees became more trees and then a sky
to sleep in. A nest and what I found inside cracked shells
and molting. And what I saw was shadows. My sister owls
were far above me. The ground a long way down
and nothing in the trees that heard me.