Literary Orphans

The Owl in the Courtyard by William Miller

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.


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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.  


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–Art by Magdalena Roeseler