February 23, 2013

Paying Attention by Scott Owens

Paying Attention
Tell me, what else should I have done?  -- Mary Oliver

The woman in the Sherpa hat
is short and not unbeautiful.
She gathers her coat around her
and walks on the heels of her feet,
the weight of her buttocks pressing
down through the lines of thigh
and calf all the way into the ground.
She has walked by eight times
with the illuminated sunset sky
behind her and the weeping branches
of this one tree. Her fingers
are long and slender and draw
circles in the air as she measures
each carefully taken step.
She is involved in serious business.
She is nothing to me.
Her face once full of pouty lips
and the straight line of her nose
grows indistinct, begins
to fade to mere silhouette.
I write more furiously now
to get it all down while I can
as if I owe her this much
for all she has shared with me.

Scott Owens’ tenth collection of poetry, Shadows Trail Them Home, was recently published by Clemson University Press.  His prior work has received awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the Next Generation/Indie Lit Awards, the NC Writers Network, the NC Poetry Society, and the Poetry Society of SC.  He is the founder of Poetry Hickory, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, and vice president of the NC Poetry Society.  Born and raised in Greenwood, SC, he currently teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC.

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