Invoking It

‘It grew light,’ Owl says, ‘and then the light grew lichens.’

He solemnly ask his pupils, ‘What is it?’

His pupils blank. He adds, ‘The It that grows

light, you know, and everything that follows.’

A stoat who is only auditing Owl’s class

pipes up and says, ‘Old Owl, your tale won’t fly

except in reason’s face. You must cloak your fill

of lichens with their absent chlorophyll

to make them grow by exposing them to light.’

The Owl sees some of his pupils are dilating

and the stoat’s accomplice looks fit to die laughing.

‘My tale is nobody’s business but my own

body’s,’ says the owl. It itself bodes ill

for those who question birds armed with sharp talons.

I ask once more. It is on the test. What is It?’

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