"Sometimes only nothing," Barbara Hamby
Wrote, "can open the door to something else."
Sometimes? Any door to anything else
Requires nothing to furnish the hinges.
A coworker's son noticed a shadow
In the girders of an old stadium.
When he returned with his binoculars,
He recognized the shadow's silhouette
As that of a great horned owl on her nest.
He also noticed that crews of painters
Were assembling truckloads of equipment
To refurbish the entire stadium.
By the next day he'd managed to convene
Lawyers, administrators, and experts
Who persuaded the painting contractor
To abandon work on the stadium
At least until all the owlets had fledged.
I wasn't there, but I could see shadows
Folding their wings and flexing their talons
Back through centuries of superstitions,
Literary battles between the birds,
Dueling pictorial symbolisms
For night, madness, and glorious wisdom,
Shadow themselves, every last one of them.
I saw the ordinary minds of my
Contemporaries alloyed by sadness,
Incapable of enduring defeat,
Wanting shadows to stay, shadows to keep.
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