There’s an owl in the courtyard—
he cries in the night.
One block away on Bourbon,
bottles are smashed, wild screams heard.
The water in the fountain
is stagnant, green and black.
His head turns as if on a swivel,
his eyes wide for mice and rats.
Finding none, he flies over
the rooftops, chimneys silent since
electric heat, gaslights were lit
only to charm tourists, drain
their fat wallets. Most streets
are fog, empty balconies.
He sits on a high branch
beneath the moon, in the swamp
this town was badly built on,
will return to one day.
William Miller is the author of six collections of poetry, twelve books for children and a mystery novel. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, The Penn Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner and West Branch. He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
–Art by Magdalena Roeseler