Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Squirrel and the Nightingale

Atop my air conditioner a squirrel
stands upright, holding a green acorn—
a tiny, tannic, highly acidic world—
as bitter as the one where I was born.

He turns the acorn round and round, testing
the shell at every point to find the spot
the meat is most accessible, resting
his incisors on the capless top.

He bites the thing with such ferocity,
I think he must have penned a few novels,
poems, or plays in his former life. For me,
all authors are reborn as animals.

The lucky ones return to Earth as birds
like nightingales. They sing strange songs at night.
They see no great significance in words
except as breakfast: worms and rays of light.

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