Barred owls on the river hunt for sex
all night. In a flash mob exchange, they pitch
& haggle their charms back & forth to a wild
orangutan vocalise. After such a fury for love,
the silence settles, the couplings surely struck.
There’s no sleeping through the fireworks,
but after, in the absence, the whole night rings
from possibility. Who knows what will come
in the year ahead? Or what to leave behind?
But now I’m awake & thirsty & the half-full
glass at my side is not enough. Too tired
to get out of bed, I close my eyes & lull against
the translation of owls calling out—
If not you, someone. If not you, someone new.
Tanya Grae is the author of Undoll (YesYes Books, 2019), a National Poetry Series finalist. Her poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Post Road, New Ohio Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. (updated 9/2018)