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The owl you heard hooting

In the middle of the night wasn’t me.

It was an owl.

Or maybe you were

So asleep you didn’t even hear it.

The sprinklers on their timer, programmed to come on

At such a strangely late hour in life

For watering a garden,

Refreshed your sleep four thousand miles away by

Hissing sweetly,

Deepening the smell of green in Eden.

You heard the summer chirr of insects.

You heard a sky of stars.

You didn’t know it, fast asleep at dawn in Paris.

You didn’t hear a thing.

You heard me calling.

I am no longer human.

The Owl You Heard

Frederick Seidel

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translated from the Ukrainian written by
Natalka Bilotserkivets