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Compline 1-29-95 

My car coasts to a stop

where the mountain road

melts into asphalt.

I see a barn owl hunched atop the yield sign.

Its talons rasp the reflective tape.

Its pale mask, punctured by two hematite moons,

swivels towards raindrops falling

through the yellow pools of my headlights,

then turns back,

riveted by a heartbeat

underneath the forest floor.

The owl's wings open like a prayer

and surge through the incense of wet redwood.

Silhouettes of branches

genuflect in turn.

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Mary Lentz

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