My car coasts to a stop
where the mountain road
melts into asphalt.
I see a barn owl hunched atop the yield sign.
Its talons rasp the reflective tape.
Its pale mask, punctured by two hematite moons,
swivels towards raindrops falling
through the yellow pools of my headlights,
then turns back,
riveted by a heartbeat
underneath the forest floor.
The owl's wings open like a prayer
and surge through the incense of wet redwood.
Silhouettes of branches
genuflect in turn.