Daryl Jones

by Daryl Jones

But for the owl’s persistent question,
issuing now and then
from a nearby spruce
in the darkness and falling snow,

I would think that I’m
alone, outside the hospital entrance,
under the portico at 3 a.m.,
getting some air. Nothing moves

in the snowfall, apart
from the snow itself, which rises,
paradoxically, the longer it falls,
coming down with the steady momentum

of an IV drip. The cleared walks
and the nearly vacant parking lot
plowed earlier in the night
surrender to the snow

gradually but surely. And though
nothing moves, I know
from the owl’s presence
that under the white blanket,

imperceptibly to me, life
goes on, if only
the obstinate tunneling
of a vole, or the soft heartbeat

of a rabbit sleeping
in its ball of warmth.
I know, too, that moments
from now, when I turn

and reenter the hospital,
the snow will continue
to do what snow does.
It settles on the darkened houses,

on the trackless streets and empty
intersection, where the traffic light
cycles automatically
through its trinity of colors

no one sees. Snow deepens
on the parking lot, piles up
on the lone cars abandoned
in their islands of light,

masses in heavy clots
on the flocked trees and sagging
branches of the spruce,
from which the owl, sometime

in the night, lifts noiselessly.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Daryl JonesDaryl Jones lives in Boise, Idaho. His poems have appeared in Black Warrior Review, The Idaho Review, The Sewanee Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. His book Someone Going Home Late received the Natalie Ornish Poetry Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. He is a former Idaho Writer-in-Residence and a past recipient of an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.

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