Owl Eyes


I was born
In the doorway of the delivery room
At change of shift
My mother had to lift the sheets
To show them I was here

I didn’t cry
I just stared
With big eyes 
And big pupils

“Owl Eyes”
My dad nicknamed me
As my parents wondered
“Who the hell is in there
Behind those big black eyes?”

I guess they found out
Slowly enough
As I learned to communicate better
But I feel like my father and me 
Never fully understood each other
Until he was dying

Because there was something he feared
About opening up to love
But he trusted me enough to do it
And I trusted him enough to do the same
And suddenly it was as if everything in our hearts
Was known to the other
On a level too deep for words

I was born during so many transitions
But death is the biggest of all
And I know my dad was scared
But I told him:

When it gets to its worst
Or when the pain gets too much
Lean on Love
It will not let you down
And he did
And we could see more
In each other’s eyes
Than we’d seen in a lifetime before

And my mom said when he died
He trusted us enough
To walk into the Light unafraid

Owl Eyes I was at birth
And Owl Eyes I was again
When my father took me out at night
To listen to the owls in the woods
And my eyes got big every time
I heard an owl hoot

And when my father was dying
All I wished was that
My Owl Eyes could get big enough
To see, and capture, his soul
In my memory

[This was in response to the writing prompt “Allies”. I doubt this is what the person had in mind, at all. But every time I came back to the writing prompt, “Allies” sounded like “Owl Eyes” in my head. And yet I still couldn’t write the poem. Every attempt was so unsatisfactory that I rarely bothered saving my drafts. My father, who had given me this nickname, was dying of cancer. And I just found out tonight why I couldn’t write the poem before: His death was a necessary part of the story, a part that hadn’t happened yet the last time I tried to write this. It’s too bad. I would have liked him to see it. He and my mom followed my poetry blog, because that’s where I communicated the most how I was feeling about his illness and upcoming death, and my feelings in general. I just wish he’d been around to see this one. He was the one who called me Owl Eyes, after all.]


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