I saw it lying on the paving stones
More stiff than the stick that snapped
When I tried to flip it over.
I don’t know why –
There’s something about death that
Makes you want to prod it and poke it.
It wasn’t that I was checking for breath,
The squirrel was unquestionably dead,
With its mud splattered fur,
Pink gum where there should have been a lip,
Little paws raised to its eyes, in fear perhaps,
Perhaps disbelief,
And no sign whatever of its tail.
It seemed almost as though Nature itself
Was trying to deny its nature
By burying the bedraggled corpse
Before anyone noticed.
As though one day I would absently turn and ask,
‘Where is the squirrel that usually hangs from the feeder?’
And you would say, ‘I don’t know,
Perhaps it has gone away’.

© GB 2007

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