A giant old bird, a Secret of Nimh owl, dark as night but beating against the glass with white feathers. Some nights the bird looked angry, trying to get in, trying to get at us with those ice talons. Silent, relentless, throwing itself at the car.
Other times the bird just seemed cold, and it wanted in to warm up. It was almost hot inside once the windshield was defrosted and the fan was blowing; Dad taught us to open our winter coats then, to get the most out of the heat.
Once I dared to open a rear side window—there was a wingbeat gust, a frozen shriek—and someone yelled to roll up the window. There was no rest for those great white wings.
A woman later told me she never saw a bird there at all: instead of a huge angry or cold or lonely owl, it was a flower on the outside of the windshield. The pale, endlessly opening petals of what she later learned was a chrysanthemum.
BIO: Kelly Shepherd has been a kindergarten teacher in South Korea and a construction worker in northern Alberta. Shift, his first full-length poetry collection, was published by Thistledown Press in spring 2016. Originally from Smithers, British Columbia, Kelly currently lives in Edmonton, where he teaches at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.