The owl flew in, like an emoji
cutting through language, my daily complaints

her, so, what’s keeping you here?

If I said it was like living in the wild, trying to survive
actually doing it year after year, the driving force
coursing through my blood

instead of the obvious she’d knock down with
“unaffordable,” name the high cost not the price
I’m paying

and I’d sound crazy

only didn’t have to say anything. There was Falco*
to say it for me, name they called him
like an Italian mobster

who’d just made a jail break
from the zoo, officials, concerned for his safety,
trying to lure him back with owl mating calls
his favorite rat food, had no effect.

He was on to them, wouldn’t touch their food
found his own rats to kill, feast on
spotted on a sidewalk, perched in trees
kept eluding capture, skirting danger:

what it took: the very air he breathed,
alive, to be Falco, himself

not the emoji she saw

*“A Eurasian eagle owl named Flaco escaped New York’s Central Park zoo on Thursday night, Feb. 6th, after his enclosure was vandalized and is still on the loose in Manhattan” as of March 1st.(The Guardian, Feb.6th, 2023)

Linda Lerner’s Taking the F Train (NYQ Books, 2021) was chosen as a finalist in the 2022 Paterson Poetry Prize. Her poems currently appear in, Maintenant, Gargoyle, Big City Lit, etc. How it was (2020—2021) and is, was released from Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books in 2023.