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Shadow of the Owl

The loudspeaker hidden in the thornbush
is pouring out Sinatra, while a sharp light
comes on above my head, and a flurry of wings
arrives from behind me, and the shadow
of the owl covers me, then recedes into night.

I am sitting here on a log, in the wee small 
hours of the morning (thanks Frank), reminiscing
about my student days in the Black Forest,
that ghost in the tower, and the pile of bottles
we left behind us following the farewell party.

I can still smell the marijuana, and the wine
I’m now drinking is superior, but I couldn’t
fling myself around in a punk-dance like then.
I hear an uhu, and another, before the owl’s
wings drop their poncho of shadow again.

What does the creature want from me tonight?  
I thought he’d done with me, done his worst.
Sinatra is embarking on a song called ‘Ill Wind’.
I empty the bottle and fling it into the dark,
enjoying the smash against the rock. I go in.

Matthew Sweeney

(issue 34)