The Reading

by Timothy Murphy

Some owlets eye me from a scrub oak tree.
They’re fledged and glass me with their yellow eyes,
and not a one will fly off in surprise,
their wing tips rounded, flying silently,
because I bear a gun, because I’m me.

These are Bob Clawson’s kids in Acton, Mass.,
and they are unpersuadable by Frost,
their fathers absent and their bearings lost,
and God excuses kids like these from class.
What shall I say to owlets as I pass?

We have our generations, and the gulf
one cannot pass, especially those not fathers.
Childless, I’m here to bless my little brothers
and read to teenage boys the Beowulf.