Spring Squirrel ~ Matthew Murrey


It’s been dead for months, dry stiff
pelt drum-skinned on a frame
of delicate bones.  My two boys and I
huddle over this scrap of squirrel, touch it.
Only a trace remains of the grace
that once frisked the branches
above our heads.  See how
its elbow is bent, tensed, and its claw
grasps a little orb of air as if it might spring
out of its demise.  We flip it and see
ribs and spine pressed flat against empty insides.
“How did it die, Daddy?”
I don’t know.  Yellow bones,
thin skin; what I know is this squirrel
will never sprint or bark again
or launch itself from limb to limb.
As if we had designed and made this creature,
we mull it over—like three stupid gods
who thought they got it right, and then found this.