The Squirrel

I pass him each morning on my walk into work.

He’s always at the bottom of the same tree

with his nose in the same ground

probably burying or recovering goodies

he’ll need when things get scarce again.

He’s thinking if I just keep doing what I’m known

for doing the man won’t bother me

and in fact, won’t even see me.

He’s decided all he has to do in an emergency is

jump up to his place of safety and then leap

across its leaves and over the nearby rooftops

until he’s as good as forgotten about.

Is he always on edge, or hypervigilant? Of course.

Does he have complex PTSD? Does he fear

endangering himself unknowingly? And does he still

try to figure out how to get what he needs

without becoming food? Of course, he does. He’s a squirrel.

When he gets home at night, he puts his feet up

on a toadstool and meditates on the sensation

of his body at rest, and thinks holy fuck, I am

still here.