Off Season

Bren Simmers

A gift of Island poetry | curated by Deirdre Kessler

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Tonight, I don’t have to play
the crowd, tell the story of
the Christmas owl who hitched
a ride home on a fir trunk.
Walk the trail with two dozen,
hopeful for who cooks for you.
Occupy kids with true and false,
or give tips on how to tell
them apart: look for ear tufts,
eyes black or gold, a barred throat.

Tonight, I don’t have to play calls,
trick males into defending territory.
Playback’s a controversial gimmick.
Cue the tape largest to smallest
to avoid predation, great horned
to saw-whet. Only once
did a barred respond, fly over
the suburban trail seeking a rival,
spooked off by our collective
gasp and whoop.

Tonight, I don’t have to weigh
conservation vs. preservation,
disturbance against awe.
Please a group eager for
their money’s worth. Tonight,
just listen to the sound
that comes without asking.
too too too. A saw-whet
looking for a mate
pits risk against gain,
cries out its location
and waits.


—Bren Simmers. Pivot Point. Gaspereau Press, 2019.

Deirdre Kessler selects a poem a month by an Island poet for The Buzz.

A Gift of Island PoetryDeirdre Kesslerpoetry