SQUIRREL - Lynn Crosbie Poems


Poems » lynn crosbie » squirrel


All around him November rain
hisses like a thousand snakes -- around him
and on him and almost through him until
he is little more than a knotted skein
of sodden hair.

It is late November and life has narrowed
(as rain ices the leafless branches)
to three small circles. Fear freezes
two that are eyes, but the third whirls
like a prayer wheel.

The third circle is the most human:
handlike, split into fingery tendrils,
forepaws gnarled as by arthritis
are spinning an acorn cradled where
teeth can scrape it.

He could be opening a jar,
the even swivel following a thread --
except that this thread never ends:
turning and turning, the acorn's lid
will not unscrew.

What if he could break the seal
and read, as in tea leaves, the pattern of an end
congealed in his burrow among tree roots,
or spell his entrails on some road
in senseless translation?

Would knowledge of an end (the snake's
linear gift) trip the light leaper
of kinder seasons, trap him spellbound
in an all-too-human winter, our strait
of inland ice?

His ignorance of neverland
is freedom from a frozen world;
the tale he spins, because unfinished,
more complete than ours; his tongue
all present tense.