Games We Play, #102

The squirrel arches
his back in the grass,
new grass grown up
in the last few days,
in the first few days
of spring. The squirrel
springs from tree to tree,
landing on the lawn
and digging with his
front paws. He pauses
at each sound I make,
sounds of rubbing dry
legs on dry legs,
hiccups, burps, my bad
impersonation of another

Squirrel, another
squirrel hanging overhead
hangs onto the trunk
of the tree for dear life
and rings around the tree
climbing down head first.
First he heads for the ground,
head down and then back
up and then off
to a branch and back down.
Back down in the grass
a squirrel sits
digging in the grass.
If the squirrel were a bird

If the warm summer day
had just come from rain
and the afternoon
were instead morning,
I would say he was
digging for worms,
for worms to take to
the babies up in the nest
on the branch, out
on the branch where
the companion squirrel
now bobs, his weight
bowing the newly budded
sapling back on itself,
the tree itself sitting still

In the warm breeze, content
to be considered
the playground of totems,
jungle gym of icons
who craft play from work,
who interrupt productivity
for a game of tag,
or not it, or hide
and go seek. The squirrel
arches his back in the grass,
in the fields scorched
in the late summer sun,
it geometric curves carved
by the shadows of houses

And trees and crevices
where the cold rays
can not fall, not fade,
not bear unprotected
onto the earth.
I am old and watch
the squirrels with
a strange blend of fear
for their well being
and anger at their lack
of care, my need
to care. The grey stripe
on the back of the little
one faces me, his
hands jutting out

From each side
to massage an acorn
or prayer. The squirrels
are nuts. Stupid kids
with your frisbees and balls,
can’t you see I am
working here, that I tend
this garden, that these rows
are not victuals for picking,
for your consumption.
I will taste them and the earth
below them, eat dirt
and tug at weeds, dig
in the tall grass.

Lay me down beneath
this tree, this tree outside
these glass walls, these
trees I have spent
a lifetime hoping
to climb, these glass walls
I have hid behind.
I will climb them, climb
the trees and face down,
my tail in the air,
hands out in front
of me, playing tag,
mother may I,
green light red light,
hide and go seek.

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A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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