Far from the Tree
“I made friends with them, the squirrels in that tree.”
Too late to take back the words, but
I feel silly, desperate, making friends
with squirrels — though it’s not this thought that takes hold
of my heart but the bigger one.
They cut down the tree.
At first I thought I was the only one
who felt it,
but I hear my neighbours,
they’re talking about the tree, how sad
there’s “no more privacy.”
The squirrels lived in that tree,
Who needs more privacy in these times
of utter isolation —
you see, that tree was there long before I set foot
on this space. It wasn’t supposed to go
before me, “Because it could endanger me.”
Could fall on me.
I feel it again, that heart sickness.
The tree sheltered me from the sun,
increasingly searing as the tree’s kin vanish from this planet;
reminded me to breathe by filling my lungs
with its sweet exhale;
and it was home, home
to two squirrels who chased each other
endlessly. Where have they gone?
What of their kin, who burn in fires of our making?
What of them. What of our kin, our children —
Will they know shade?
What will they fill their lungs with?
I can only wait with bated breath, to see
if the squirrels return.