Laura Kasischke

1961 / Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Owls

Their holiness, their loneliness, the song
they sing in certain barns
on sad, old farms
about the scales on which the love
was weighed, or the terrible
armchair onto which was tossed
a small girl's nightgown once. The
widower's broken ankle, and the summer
a transparent fish was caught
in the pond. Invisible if not
for its heart. Its lungs. The throbbing
jelly of its subconscious:
No one would fry it for supper.
Like Dora, Little Hans, the Rat Man.
When Freud told them their own secrets
surely they must have asked, "But,
Herr Doctor, how do you know?"
And these owls in the rafters urging
me all winter now to Go,
go, and throw
your mother's bones behind you as you go.
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