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Back 40: Night

Poet Florence McGinn takes us on a night excursion.

Written by Florence McGinn  

Florence McGinn

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Back 40: Night
August 2010


Sunset shadows deepen like an arc of darkness
spreading its blinding sheen across vision’s depth.
Perspectives shift from black to ebony to soft pewter
in the cloud-veiled light of an ancient moon.
Night’s texture is given spreading substance
by a horned owl’s throaty voice. I follow
its drum call to the base of a tree
that fingertips remember as a Douglas fir.
In the amplified clarity of silence, I sense
the tufted, shadowy form on an open limb.
Its head rotates and a white throat shimmers.
My arms lower. I freeze and hold my breath.
The owl’s yellow eyes are open like a child’s eyes
struck with wonder, senses filled with hunger.
Its eyes meet mine, and I strive to memorize
how the moon dilates over its liquid surface,
how the moon stirs awake in its feral vision.