Matt Dennison is a writer whose work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.
~ Owl ~
Did I tell you about the owl we drove past
dead in the hills of Nebraska? After years
of wanting to see one up close after seeing
one on a fence post staring us down as
Mother drove us home, of wanting
to possess a stuffed one ever since,
here was one. Remembered hours later,
we drove back, picked up its splayed form,
respectfully avoided by the other drivers,
and placed it in the back of my truck.
It must have swooped to snag a mouse
or squirrel crossing the road for the only
evidence of death was a slight unsettling
of its left face—a swift blow possibly
from a truck such as my own. It weighed
nothing, on picking it up. Only feathers
for its massive head, legs strangely cat-like
under wings like some half-bred feline raptor.
Years earlier I had introduced my daughter
to the moon by saying we could fly there
in this truck, told her to hang on as I exhaled
wings and history. I was drunk. Exuberant.
Strapped into her car seat she had believed me
and cried when I said I was kidding.
I cut off its wings and buried the rest.
first published in Bayou Magazine