Who Looks for You

For weeks now, she hoots

from the fir next to our driveway:

a barred owl perched high

where we can’t see her—

unless we toe to the tree’s

knotted trunk and look up.


We listen for her each day.
Who looks for you, who looks

for you now, she calls

from her hidden roost.

Who looks for you, who looks

for you now, her lifelong mate

replies from a nearby oak.


It is we who look for her,

for her eyes are ours,

their brown depths

our longing, her swiveling head

our memory—front to back

and front again, as if she

could find our niche in time

somewhere along the line

of our passing.


Something about this bird

possesses you and me—

some owling now, a fierce

calling from the warmth

of clutch, the hope of hatchlings,

the promise they’ll one day

nestle broods of their own

and in someone else’s

distant spring, hoot and swoop 

the air of this place

where, once, I spoke

your name and held you close.



Appears in KAKALAK 2015, an anthology

published by Main Street Rag Publishing Co.

© 2019 by Justin Hunt, text and photos