Friday, June 15, 2018

When Owls Cry

The night Jona lost her mind,
a red moon hung above her window
and voices from the forest behind
called out to her, singing songs
of the dead.

It all started when she had gone
to Urmee’s house next door,
only to find her blood paint
her kitchen floor a whimsical red,
and Urmee lying on the ground
with a cold winter stare.

The men with the badges
had several versions of stories —
the one where Urmee waited for her
lover’s car to pull up the driveway
under starless grey skies;
or when she strolled with him
on the other side of town —
along sullied cafes and bars,
that were open for the night.
His hand wrapped around her waist
and head buried in a trilby hat.

The night Jona lost her mind,
she woke up to the sound
of a Vedette drive by,
and her husband’s side of the bed
cold and hollow, like a sleeping ghost.

Down the wooden staircase, she tiptoed
and found him sitting still by the fire,
his hand holding a Polaroid of Urmee —
her dark curls framing her moon-shaped face;
his fingers slowly moved across it
like she was really there and her eyes gazed,
deep pools of sea, watching,
never looking away.

*Recipient of the Orange Flower Award, Jury Choice, 2018

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