The owl’s gaze holds an old woman in bark-shadow sleeves
pouring handfuls of light. You reach in for a fill
turning warm palms naked under a speckled sky.

You tempt the stream into the yellow of your eyes,
the freckles of your skin and the mole on your back.
You fount into your bent toe bones and calloused thumbs.

You ask how the woman landed with the owl.
She laughs until her eyes get small
and shows you a rapid slide show.

The Jenkins’ garage first kiss
so swift it seemed accidental.
Semi-religious emergence as a
red-faced butterfly, semi-
sacred transformation onto
the semiotic windshield
of your ’64 Pontiac Tempest
screaming down I-35 next to
a wet husband accelerating
proportionate to six-packs consumed.

Your twenty-something self hovering
above the wreckage in a favorite
pinstriped skirt, falling
flat-tired on hot asphalt
west of your final destination–
a single bumbling deer fly
entering through the front door
exiting through the back.

You ask if the old woman is ghost or harbinger, fickle
nightmare or timeless spirit. Inside you fear
a future you is making an early appearance.

About janehewey View all posts by janehewey

17 responses to “Appearances

  • K. A. Brace

    Jane, this was a marvelous poem. Truly wonderful to read. >KB

  • ManicDdaily

    This feels like a digression in meditation–digression isn’t the best word–what I mean is that you are moving away from a pure concentration on the breath! And maybe the meditation is only in my mind, but I was very struck by the open palms in the beginning, receiving the handfuls of light (beautiful) and this seems to me to be a meditative stance –

    The Owl here like Athena–isn’t it her symbol–and she’s also something of a warrior goddess–you have both her wisdom and grit here–and the quick passing of images that are nonetheless very vivid feels like a life passing before our eyes from a higher, if very sympathetic place–a gift of a kind of vision through the darkness–an owl’s gift. Wonderfully well done. k.

    • janehewey

      It IS. I’d forgotten about Athena’s Little Owl.
      This could probably be called a meditation of sorts. It took place in a day dream. Sometimes things make more sense when they are typed out. It’s strange to me how this sort of process helps me remember my own desires… like the one to live a long long life. : ) So glad to have you here reading k., thank you.

  • kkkkaty

    …..I can relate to this ..the trick is to capture those quickly passing thoughts or memories on paper as they happen or soon after ;) love how you used the owl here to give this a transcendental mood, at least to me..and that 20 something girl is one I desire to revisit as well…lovely

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo

    You had me with the bark-shadow sleeves. This is a new personal favorite.

  • brian miller

    wow…that second one is packed with so much story….vivid and fluid as it moves through time…and that last one is magic…the future self making an early appearance….i love owls as well…mysterious themselves…

  • claudia

    love how this melts into each other and the connection that works on different levels… my fav fav image is…an old woman in bark-shadow sleeves
    is pouring out handfuls of light…. that’s just wonderful!!

  • Mark Kerstetter

    I think you’re fortunate to have had such a dream, or vision. Self-image (it seems to me) is always precarious, or at least crumbling around the edges, and needs constant grooming. And everyone deals with it differently, some responses less healthy than others. I like yours a lot. As time goes on we lose sight of earlier manifestations of ourselves, and it helps to remember, as we are always, in some sense, out of step with the past as well as the future.

    P.S. I had a Pontiac Tempest once upon a time — loved that car!

    • janehewey

      I agree, Mark. I am fortunate. I also agree that we are out of step with past and future, especially if we are cleanly present. Not the easiest of tasks, however simple.
      Loved my Tempest. Great word for a poem, too. : )

  • Victoria C. Slotto

    I loved the detail of the fly–reminded me of Dickinson’s fly buzzing as she died. Makes it all so real.

  • Brendan

    Daydream is an odd altitude of reverie, fleeting enough to stain darkwards like the night-dream though ramped enough with conscious thought to infuse it with daylight … are we dreaming, intuiting, fantasizing, erring, or experiencing a faltering of thought? This apparition bears the stain of history — has a mythic cast (Athena, yes, but also Hekate, a certain splitting of roads or alternatives) yet is personal (inked with flush younger desires). A pregnant figure of deep self, foreshadowing and backgrounding at once. Loved the “semi-sacred transformation on the semiotic windshield” – youth is surely wasted on the young, but then that’s how our older selves made transit here. Great stuff.

  • grapeling

    Striking in its detail and scope; mythic and earth-bound; from within time and unfettered by it. I very much admire this pen, Jane ~

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