The Squirrel by Brigid Hannon

Willow tree, its long tendrils sway
in dark breezes on autumn nights.
The squirrel,
he watches from his nest
as he feels the cold through his fur…
time is slipping.
A girl, she creeps, a witch hat upon her head, 
her arms wrapped around an orange orb.
It’s lopsided grin and triangle eyes
see the squirrel-
he doesn’t like it.
He knows not what it is,
for it smells of food,
but looks like fear.


And then there is fire!
Those isosceles eyes come to life, 
and so, the squirrel…
he runs away. 
The safety of his nest,
the long loving arms of the willow tree.


Days pass.
The squirrel knows time is short,
ventures out one sunny morning as usual, 
the breeze assaulting his senses with rot. 

And rot means garbage and garbage means food and so
Squirrel goes sniffing. 
Following his nose, 
he sees it and stops, 
shocked.
The roundness is misshapen. 
The orange is turning brown. 
Light extinguished, 

that face of terror is melting into itself, 
more gruesome than before, and yet…
the smell of the rot draws him nearer.
The pumpkin has a hole in his head, 
and Squirrel peers in, 
fearing monsters of his own making, 

an imagination run wild with possibility.  

But no, only wax, and…seeds?
The squirrel is giddy, elated, ecstatic!
Tiny paws gather white teardrops,
and he scurries back to the willow.
Watching from the tree again, 
his stores replenished for winter. 
A kid comes along, 
he spies the pumpkin. 
Blue jeans and football jersey 
and he tosses it like the pigskin,
right into the street.  
Right in front of the oncoming car. 
Later, the girl will cry.
Later, the squirrel will eat.


Decay begets new life, again.