What A Squirrel Means

Originally posted 11/29/2010 as a revision to a poem from 2006.

A cat has caught a squirrel,
left it wounded and choking
on the neighbor’s lawn,
and I have come outside 
to stop the noise.

I chase the cat away:
he does not go far, watches
as I bend over the small body
then step back; the squirrel rises,
tries to climb the big maple three times,

getting no farther up than four or five feet
before a clumsy tumble
into squirming among the exposed roots —
panting, squeaking softly
like a balloon
losing air.

This ends at once;
I am glad my knife is sharp.

The cat is still watching, 
waiting to attend to this kill
that once was his alone
and now must be shared;

back inside I wash the blade in the sink 
for ten minutes under
the hottest water I can stand, 

then do the same
with my hands

that believe they have just
done the right thing 
yet just as rightly
cannot stop shaking.


About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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