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The Loon Call
by Phibby Venable

It is four o'clock & a loon wails from the river into my open window
It is dark and the sound carries woeful and lost until my blood rises
incessantly in mourning as empathy and old embers burn in my throat
I whisper and my mouth smokes blue goodbyes

The loon is as relentless as grief, full throated, almost a howl now
of loneliness, the companionship it seeks listening perhaps
on the other side of the river

I could open my back door and wail an answer of despair the bird might
recognize in the night and puzzle as something of its own
My neighbor's eyes are blackened as I glance over a valley of silence –
except for the loon – piercing the night with pain,
and waiting for a familiar reply to some unspeakable hunger


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