The Squirrel

Today’s poem is based on a true story. I was walking alongside the Red Cedar River after class one day when a squirrel plopped himself down and stared at me. I stopped and stared back and he scampered up my leg. I even managed to get a photo as evidence of my Disney Princess moment.

By the way, the Australian Shepherd mentioned is Angel, who belonged to a friend and was one of the best dogs that ever lived. Honestly, Angel probably would have left the squirrel alone on command. Gimli, on the other hand, has a high prey drive and has spent the last two mornings hunting crickets instead of pooping and would absolutely murder any squirrel I tried to bring home.

The Squirrel

Originally written March 3, 2007

We regarded each other silently.
Tentative, I reached out,
A gentle offering, to caress
His face; but he shied back.
I could not give him what he most
Desired, but he, tenacious
Won my heart out, in the end–
And so, I fell in love.

“Why, hello, my friend,” I said.
“Such a pleasure, and well-met!”
His dark eyes told me all
His longings and his fears.
He approached and drew away again.
My heart fluttered. I held very still
And patience was rewarded.
He touched my foot. “My!
How forward! And you haven’t even
Given me your name.”
And he was silent and withdrew.
“Well, then,” said I, “I think I shall
Call you Mister Squirrel.”

At this, his reddish, bushy tail
Flapped emphatically, and he
Looked imploringly at me, but I,
I had no food to give him, only me.
I held my breath and made no moves.
He put his tiny paws on me,
Then backed away, then tried again
Until he reached my knee,
Then, frightened, backed away
And I thought, gone for good.

So I resumed my walk.
My newest friend
Followed at a distance. “Mister Squirrel!”
Said I, a little flattered.
“I’d love to take you home
With me, but I
Have other very special friends
Who would not understand
This bond we have established. Why,
An Australian Shepherd friend of mine,
As an example, I am sure
Would love to play with you.
But would she understand? Would you?”
And so we bid adieu
My little, hungry friend and I.
A little heartbroken, I walked alone,
And marveled at the squirrel who could
Mistake me for a tree.