Burrowing Owls Lived There Last Year

Written by Gritfish

Burrowing Owls Lived There Last Year

From the window of my office at the edge of the city,
I could look out at the sagebrush and dry grasses
Of the Great Western Desert.
Burrowing owls lived there last year.
We kept binoculars by the window; we watched the owls
Go in and out of their burrow near a juniper stump.
There was a family of quail living there too;
The quail and the owls lived in a sort of truce,
Although the mother quail didn't let her chicks stray far
When the owl was sitting on the juniper stump.
Occasionally a ground squirrel would scamper
Across the clear sandy space at the base of the stump,
Always watchful for the burrowing owls.

The desert on the other side of the hill
Was bought by some developers--
More condominiums, they said! We need more condos!
More apartments, they said! We need more apartments!
The development project marched up the other side
Of the hill from the home of the owls, quail and squirrels
And crested it this spring. Condo construction started
On the crest of the hill this spring.

The burrowing owls have fled.
The quail have gone elsewhere.
There are no more ground squirrels scampering in the sand.
The development project has gone bankrupt.

Burrowing owls lived there last year.

Gritfish ©1996

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