2009 – Abby Franklin – The Saw-Whet

Winner of the 2009 New Hampshire High School Poetry Contest

The Saw-Whet
by Abby Franklin

we came in the barn
with the bitter December
snow grinding
in our boots

and found it there
lying perfectly
eyes closed

like it had
fallen asleep
then fallen

we waited
for the rise and fall
like a baby sleeping
but all was frozen
like the world outside

a wind
snaking through
the open door
parted its flawless feathers
brown and dun

we reached
expecting a whirl
of wings
but all was still
like the world outside

as we carried
the fragile body
from its wooden coffin
to where the stars
waited breathlessly
like the owl in my hands

I wondered what
the sleeper’s last dream
had been
hoping it was softer
more like feathers
than the stabbing
cold of the ruthless winter night

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