Little Owl Who Lives in the Orchard by Mary Oliver
His beak could open a bottle, and his eyes - when he lifts their soft lids - go on reading something just beyond your shoulder - Blake, maybe, or the Book of Revelation.
Never mind that he eats only the black-smocked crickets, and the dragonflies if they happen to be out late over the ponds, and of course the occasional festal mouse. Never mind that he is only a memo from the offices of fear -
it’s not size but surge that tells us when we’re in touch with something real, and when I hear him in the orchard fluttering down the little aliminum ladder of his scream - when I see his wings open, like two black ferns,
a flurry of palpitations as cold as sleet rackets across the marshlands of my heart like a wild spring day.
Somewhere in the universe, in the gallery of important things, the babyish owl, ruffled and rakish, sits on its pedestal. Dear, dark dapple of plush! A message, reads the label, from that mysterious conglomerate: Oblivion and Co. The hooked head stares from its house of dark, feathery lace. It could be a valentine.