Golden-Mantles Ground Squirrel by Sandra Alcosser
with jerk-beef tail
you come begging
outside my screen. Sidelong
you stare all morning.
I know that greeting. It's the same as mine.
You can't make up your flimsy mind.
Do you like the world better--distant
or direct? Little Beckett
shifting chicles from one nervous cheek
to the other, will you never seek more
than safe passage?
If I so much as breathe, you convulse
like water on hot grease. Relax,
no one cares about you. If you left
the territory next Friday for good,
there'd be no party. That's the privilege
of being discreet. You know the warm dens,
The sound of your solitary beat
against the walls, and those strawberries
ripening under my porch,
the ones no hand can reach?
deep maroon, reclusive,
they smell so sweet.