If the barred owl sits facing our window
on a wire waiting, has death already occurred
or will there be more?

Does he embody loved ones, like a nimble ghost,
a messenger? We make sure our son’s smallest dog
goes to the car accompanied so he isn’t a sacrifice

to the silent night. Oh wise, spirit, what else do you
bring us? Nothing much is left this season, this year.
But no, the owl has left its roost.

It remains just an omen or lucky periapt.
Earlier this afternoon a Townsend’s warbler flew against
That same bay window. Dazed, it sat on the pavement.

Picking it up, I placed it in a small shoe box with tissues,
set it in our planter under the eaves, noted
its rapid breathing, but not struggling.

I went to get pieces of fabric to help with warmth and
carefully tried to place stars and stripes of red and blue
under the small, fragile-winged dinosaur, transforming it slowly.

Twisting, it slipped out of my hands, flew up
onto the Hawthorne’s tree branch, then left altogether.
Is that the message:

Two birds, one near death, helped, and one waiting
for a future death? Simplicity makes answers
manageable even if I don’t believe them.

Each day I wait again for the owl thinking it will bring
some prophesy that will satisfy my questions:
I half ask for happiness, or at least less sadness.

Can we save polar bears, penguins, snowy owls?
Will my children and grandchildren live long lives?
Is there hope for this damaged earth?

A swarm of warblers gather at our feeder today,
fattening themselves for winter.
Maybe I saved one of them the other day.