Would that I could cough up what cannot be transformed,
the way owls do.
At the base of the meadow,
pines and firs cover the slope.
Gray droppings, roughly cylindrical, litter the ground.
Loose shapes like half-smoked cigars,
30 or more scattered under a pine.
Poke one with a stick,
and find it made of gray fur
stippled with the tiny bones
of field mice and voles.
Owls eat them whole, absorb the nutrients
then cough up fur and bone.
Would that I could cough up what cannot be absorbed.
Partial truths splinter like bones in the throat.
Lies of omission –like spat fur– belong to nothing.
A man tells you his marriage is over,
then reconciles with his wife on the down low
but says nothing, hedging his bets,
until the day his secret fledges,
and shoves you out.
A hard, abrupt landing
thuds the wind from your lungs, the beat from your heart
leaves your chest hollow, airless.
Would that I could cough up betrayal.