In the beech wood the bare boughs glistened
grey in the thin December sunshine and there
on a mossy stump, also grey like a small clump
of lichen the pellet sat evincing the white tips
of rib bone of some small rodent through the
clumped fur regurgitated from an owl's gullet.
Sitting on the stump I spread the contents in the palm
of my hand: those rib bones like small curved spears,
bits of vertebrae, fragmented teeth; a few wiry hairs
tangled in with the fur and some hard, black chitin
from a beetle's carapace. Not to be digested these
things were now treasure-trove, discovered bounty
of a hunter's leavings, and so I left them
spread on the moss where the pellet had fallen.