September 9

The dogs startled a barn owl this morning
quite close to me.

His startled cry sounded manufactured to my ears, as though
they had set off an alarm,
and I imagined that our seldom-appearing, car-camping neighbor had been disturbed and I was already forming an apology – so lengthy and strident was the first wailing note.

But then it turned to an owl sound, a classic Hu-Huuuu! which I assume is a barn owl because I know it is not a barred owl (who cares so much that someone cooks for me), and I imagine that screech owls do not say Hu-Huuu and that our sometime snowy visitors from far to the north do not say a single thing, except to whisper stories of the aurora to their children.

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