Friday, August 3, 2012

Ruins: What Rises From Them and What Falls Into Them

There's a burned bed in the median
hardly more than metal springs, black char, and grey ash
disconnected from any memory of whatever purpose it once served.

The call about the owl didn't come in today,
the suicidal one that flew out in front of the family van,
the bird I was willing to forsake if not for a child urging
his father to seize upon an opportunity to become a hero.

Thirty minutes after impact, we find the bird in the headlights
flat on it's back, wings spread wide, motionless.
It's dead, I say, disgusted.
It's midnight and, like any working man off the clock,
I want to relax not mess around with dead birds, lost causes.

When I step out onto the road though,
the owl leaps to its feet and looks at me drunkenly
through one open eye.

Uncertain, I drop a blanket on it and gently lift it into a cardboard box.
The owl offers no resistance thinking, perhaps, that I am the reaper come to take it home.
We drive thirty miles to the 24 hour emergency room at the school of veterinary medicine
which is different from emergency rooms that treat humans in that it's not very busy
and the staff are polite, humane and like their jobs.

The receptionist asked us to complete an information card which inquired
as to whether we wanted to be included in the release of the animal when it was fully mended,
and I thought what a great family moment that would be - to see the despondent owl cured and liberated, soaring strings in the background...we, beaming skyward.

But that call didn't come in, 
and I have this fear that the poor owl
may have hung himself in his cage
while the staff were laughing and having pizza.

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