This fall our squirrels are fatter than God.
Nourished by this generous land,
they hold worlds in their bellies.
Maples offer outstretched limbs
for the squirrels’ high-wire acts,
brilliantly executed feats of daring.
For now they continue light on their feet,
can run the length of a power line,
scale a roof, but when will the extra
weight they’re packing keep them
from leaping? What is the tipping point
where health turns into harm
where flight takes a fall? Will they evolve
into ground squirrels, leave branches
to sway empty above?
My mother’s town has a surfeit of squirrels;
a long summer has provided an extra
breeding cycle. Their corpses spatter
highways and parking lots.
But our squirrels are not at locust capacity.
Instead of multiplying their species,
they’ve opted to multiply their cells,
grow their own rotund bellies.
More tempted to feed than to mate,
unconcerned about preserving the species,
they’ve become self-preserving.
Basic needs cared for, they learn new arts,
lounge and play and savour, tend
to their burgeoning inner lives.