Tricia Knoll


Listen to the audio version.

We must have scared the barred owl
from its daytime roost, the forester and I
scuffling through the snow and ice
to spray paint trunks of the invasives.
My forest, the owl’s grove of mixed
conifers and hardwoods, he barely
had time to take off and flee
over our heads, silent.

Silence. Consonants fall from
my throat as if I no longer know
my language. My deceptions
of being the old lady without
speech have played out my trick
as bungled words gurgle up.

The forester explains owl silence
on hunt, stealth in wing beat:
mix of serrations and velvety
down fringe feathers that
suck up airflow turbulence.

I am jealous. Would be a creature
designed with wide wingspan
to move deliberately, undetected.
My species expects me to speak out,
to cry for truths of all that has gone
wrong for people and for owls.

Drp sme vowls, dp som konstants. This is who I am.


*Also published in Tupelo Press 30-30 Project.


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet with spasmodic dysphonia. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her most recent collection How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) received the Gold Prize for Poetry Book Category for Motivational Poetry in the Human Relations Indie Book Prize for 2018. Website: