I first think the squirrels they are us
that the crackling noise of mayhem be mine
only soon come to realize, like cloud or sky --
this TREE is us, this growth of ages ours.
I study from afar its scored lines on old skin
gashed from the searing tracks of Rodentia
all these many years, cold Christmas and the
Fourth of July four times forty times the free.
Two squirrels run
each and every summer night
round old, such old Southern crusty bark
up and down and all around
a ribbon around each bend they always run,
to the broken limb across the pavement
its asphalt deep enough to sell a house
but never cover up the River Styx.
on a bridge of broken limbs
now I'm glancing over to the light
electric, poled and paid for
and then along the side
to a house of birds
to a feeder of birds
to a bath of birds
All of which seem empty in this heat,
dry, maybe even forgotten
but scarecrow vigilant nonetheless
across the street from Home Sweet Home.
The black driveway splits it all,
room enough for passage in permanent style
perhaps even that of time.