—after Charles Baudelaire, “Les Hiboux”

In black yew shelters,
Owls tuck themselves away,
Strange gods
With red meditating shifty eyes,

Otherwise roost unstirring
Till the melancholy hour
When darkness shovels
The sun offstage.

Thus, they teach the sage
She need fear in this world
Only tumult and action.

Passing, drunk on shadows,
My punishment for desiring change
Is desiring more change.

From The Year the City Emptied by Daisy Fried © 2022. Reprinted by permission of Flood Editions.