Grey Owl and I

By Liz Mathews


Editor's Note: This is a piece created by a Fort Lyon resident in one of our creative writing classes led by writer-in-residence Kathy Conde last fall. 


From a slow heartbeat in the bed

To a drumroll

To the approval of the spirit

And the grey owl of the night


I have moved to the window

Through it, and to the branch

That called me scratching at the glass

It is a black cat kind of dark


And while my eyes adjust to the dreamtime

To the space-time between masses

My ears hear a howling wind

Like the wild ocean in a seashell


I watch myself asleep in bed

And feel no thread between us two

The Owl comes to lift me down

His wings are mine till I can fly


“We’re due to meet the Moon tonight

She’s fierce and bold and smells our lies

She’ll want to know your truths and fears.”

With blackhole eyes he beckoned me


In this spell I shed my gown

And accompanied ran to the berm

Where no greater sky was ever seen

And no fuller moon, blood red and blue


Grey Owl of the night and I

Stood small and made our voices loud

With all the freezing air could hold

Our vibrations cut the clouds apart


“Grandmother Moon!” we banshee called

“We’ve come to offer up our souls!

Our knowingness is that we know less.

Our great fear- that we’ll never live again.”


It seemed at once the stars rotated

The Moon’s bright face shone stark and white

A booming laughter rolled through the air

It took all our strength to not be felled


“Oh sweet Owl, and dear sweet girl!

Were we supposed to meet tonight?

I’ve been laughing at such cosmic jokes

As the one about Taurus and…” she stopped.


“In any case, dear mortal souls,

I’ve heard your truth and heard your fears.

It is indeed a frightening thing to be alive

And not know past death.”


“A more frightening thing - I would imagine

Would be to think you know for sure.

So do not fear, and do not know, and

Laugh always about your knowing less.”


With that she turned the sky around

Grey Owl and I flew quietly back

“I thought our interview was today,” said Owl

And we both laughed myself awake.