Once In A
"... my stress
lay on the incidents in the development
of a soul: little else is worth study ..." Robert Browning
Talking in the
parking lot across
from the library, where it is shaded
by tall maples, we hear this chit-chit-chit
and, wondering, we look up and see a squirrel
watching us from a high branch,
while rotating the nut he’s gnawing at.
Seeing us see him, he stops his eating,
stops his busy little teeth, and stops
the chit-chit-chit. Silence. Eyes meet eyes.
Then ... he scampers to a higher branch—
and we? I don't remember what we said
or did that day, after the squirrel, or before
the squirrel. Recall only an incident
whose soul-value was its greater value.
sunlight the red squirrel scoots up
and down the apple tree, free from all concern,
while the cat watches from the window, and
I from behind the screendoor. Next he runs
along his highway through the greeny treetops,
his highway in the sky, his highway
invisible to me, once run. And now he
takes the shortcut home, leaving branches jostling,
where he's leapt from tree to leafy tree—not
suspecting all the eyes that tracked him. I
suspect we, too, live free of inhibitions
we might otherwise be feeling, if we but knew . . .
And now on ground he swirls
and rounds the corner,