The Ugly Owls

The ugly owls, their horned crowns
in silent predatory swooshing survey
throw eyes to dark winged birds at rest
on prominent hickory branches arched;
false they call the living to the dead these crows,
frail their battlefield overlordship,
though warriors cringe and piss themselves when cawed,
these, even these, have enemies.
Hiding their children in nestles, finding no leaves
the winter has not been kind to marching troops;
like a howling storm splitting open a quiescent day,
the carrion feeder’s children are torn away
in a cyclone of talons and feathers.

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