The Journalist

Ann Michael final headshot

What is it you observe? Maybe traffic

because you are in your car so often

it’s an extension of self, a familiar

surround, while you keep an eye on

the blue Subaru creeping up on your

right and you know the light will change

at about the time that rental truck

reaches it, so you move into the left

lane. But what do you notice, beyond

what must be noticed? Do you register

a wedge of geese struggling against

headwinds or a paper wasp nest in a

poplar’s bare bough? What about

those small events in the cosmos

beneath notice? You notice them.

Not on the screens which scream look look

but through your eyes: plastic bag, empty,

pirouettes across a lawn, and you don’t

know who lives in that house but likely

they have children—swing, slide, tricycles.

And here, streets littered with walnuts,

the black walnuts of your childhood, so

that now what you observe is yourself

in recall mode and thinking of a winter

many years ago, the only time in your life

you ever saw a snowy owl in the wild—

the shock of admiration that pushed out-

ward from your chest cavity, outward

and into the wholly brilliant world

where you walked, trying not to twist

an ankle, on the bitter shells of walnuts.

Ann E. Michael resides in PA’s Lehigh Valley. Her previous books include Water-Rites and The Capable Heart. Her forthcoming chapbook, Barefoot Girls, will appear early in 2020 from Prolific Press. Website & blog: