Squirrels and Injury
The day after Christmas
I saw a fox squirrel take a bite
From the spoiling pear I tossed out days before.
The pear long ignored, I looked closer
And saw the creature’s hunger
From one front paw misshapen, the other broken
With no way to stand or shell a seed.
I’ve fed them before, injured squirrels,
Unable to sit up and eat,
I brought food in a can
On the end of a pole
And this one, too, let me get that close
Then fed slowly, desperately,
Its eyes sometimes closing with fatigue.
Soon the other squirrels were coming around
And this is where it gets tricky:
Chasing them without alarming the wounded
But I could do it, shaking a finger,
Fortressing a brow, mouthing a guttural tone —
They left us alone.
My husband just smiled
When I told him that part.
A scientist, he misses so much
And goes on thinking
The world is a simple equation.
Jenny McBride has published fiction and poetry. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two cats and six bicycles.