SQUIRRELS

by Tony Rafalowski

 

The remnants of a hurricane blew through my yard

Late one September afternoon. You would think

West Tennessee and its cotton fields far enough away

From the tropical storm warnings of the gulf coast.

 

Not so much, as evidenced by the two juvenile squirrels

Tossed from the security of the large old sugar gum tree

Beside the driveway, abandoned by their parents, I guess,

Who heeded the forecast and found other shelter.

 

One died on the concrete and had to be carried away

By my son in law, laid to rest at the bottom of the creek

That runs behind our property, swollen in the morning light

With the run off from rains that flooded south Texas.

 

One survived, the stronger sibling, Cain or Romulus,

Crawled down the driveway and into the garage

Under the Toyota where we found him the next day,

Crying for justice in the dark light of the dawn.

 

Using garden gloves we laid him in a box

Pillowed on an old towel ragged but soft,

Stroked his gray fur with our fingertips,

Sought to pray away the hurts, his and our own.

 

We gave him to a friend who had done this

Before, nursed an injured squirrel back to life.

He died in the late afternoon, but not without

Love, the soft comfort of having mattered.

 

The rest of us could be so lucky.

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