for Molly Boring

Nobody is ever supposed to want
to be nobody in America today.

We all must be somebody big
but when I came to the Cathedral today
there was the sexton gesturing to me
with a crooked finger that said
“have you seen an owl”.

Which I once had on a winter morning
delivering the Sunday bay City Times
as I waded through the falling snow
but each time you see one it’s new
as those two great eyes devour you.

“They are a Christian symbol” I say
unable to stop looking “that’s why
they say wise as an owl, it’s Sophia
the female personification of wisdom
in Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes”.

Then I went to meditate my brains out
but everyone saw the owl on the way in
and the one who hadn’t been able to make it
for months arrived in time to see the owl
fly away into the gathering dusk one last time
before we walked the spiral phosphine
of the owl eye that leads to what
we can only see in the growing darkness
that’s so bright for light stricken eyes
that see’s the slightest movement that fluffs great wing feathers
that cleans beak and talon
that finally disappears in last flash of winged glory.


James Van Looy has been a fixture in Boston’s poetry venues since the 1970s. He is a member of Cosmic Spelunker Theater and has run poetry workshops for Boston area homeless people at Pine Street Inn and St. Francis House since 1992. Van Looy leads the Labyrinth Creative Movement Workshop, which his Labyrinth titled poems are based on. His work appears weekly in Oddball Magazine.