The Hunter

I was playing in my greenhouse when I heard him call out his question, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI emerged from the shed to find him perched above me in my favorite sycamore. He fixed his orbs on mine with an intensity that fluttered my heart. There was a catch in my chest, and my brain straddled the line between fear and excitement–fight, freeze, or flight.

He doesn’t trust me, even though I only say sweet things. I offer him moles and mice and instead, he takes my bunnies and baby birds. Once, he barreled down and stole a bunny from the underbrush of roses, right at my feet. His barbaric action angered, and then transfixed me.

Who cooks for you?

He ignored my question and then swooped low enough to make me duck, landing in a tree less than ten feet way.

I lifted my eyes back to his and smiled. So you wanna play, little bird?

As soon as I offered, he flew away to find his girlfriend, or wife, or whoever he’s always calling for.

Such a tease, a player, a hunter.  His big, bold body and boisterous questions taking up space in my sycamore or on the garden arbor. His calls stir me from early morning dreams and I search for him when it’s been too many days since we last spoke.

He always comes back. Curious enough to check me out, but not intrigued enough to stay. I try to talk and he pretends to listen, but I know he’s just sizing me up.

Before his next pass,  he calls,  “Are you a predator, or are you prey? ”

I just whisper, “Dear Mr. Owl, it depends on the day.”

Mr. Owl