Owls

by Troy Urquhart

One of them closer, a higher pitch, an urgency there but still confident.
The voice of an owl drifts through the open window, calling somewhere near,
and then the answer–deeper, fewer syllables, more distant

than the first, and I imagine him, small, brown, insistent,
sitting on some branch on some tree, longing to have her near.
One of them closer, a higher pitch, an urgency there but still confident,

her voice contains some hidden message, code, some persistent
insistence of a full-yet-empty feeling that sounds so clear,
and then the answer–deeper, fewer syllables. More distant

voices underlie this conversation, distant neighbors’ dogs with their discordant
barking, a muddled undercurrent of sound over which this rings clear:
One of them closer, a higher pitch, an urgency there but still confident

that she will be heard, that he will find her in the ambient
light of the deep night moon, the light that quickly disappears.
And then the answer–deeper, fewer syllables, more distant

than before, nearly gone. And the night grows dark and silent
for a while, the answer gone, until through the open window, I hear
one of them closer, a higher pitch, an urgency there but still confident,
and then the answer–deeper, fewer syllables, more distant.


Troy Urquhart is a would-be expat who hasn’t yet made it out of the country. His writing has appeared in places like Tulip Weekly, Twentieth-Century Literature, The Literary Encyclopedia, Romanticism on the Net, and English Journal. He lives in central Florida with two dancers–his wife Melissa and his daughter Hillary–and one very vocal cat. He spends his nights running, reading, and writing, and his days teaching writing and American literature at an international boarding school. His website is www.troyurquhart.com.

Back to Issue One: Fall 2008