“Yet this alone out of my life I kept
Unto myself, lest any know me quite.”
(Edna St. Vincent Millay)*
She speaks to small creatures,
speaks for them–the young squirrel
keeping cool, splooting in the grass
beneath the pecan tree, home base,
safe, backstage where actors embrace
for real, not the public show, this for
only her–the lady, older now, still lovely,
smiling at the kitchen window,
Whiskey Frisky her name for him,
his performance, flattened out
spread-eagle splooting, then
springing straight up, flip-twisting
mid air to land on his back and speed-bag
punch and comb and nibble his bushy tail
pulled tight along his belly, the female
he imagines pressed to him . . .
what to do but whirl, gleeful in squirrel joy,
and leap for the tree, scurry up, then freeze,
look back to catch her following.
Such a cute imagination
the lady at the window thinks
to herself, his being so young.
*Millay, Edna St. Vincent. “Bluebeard.” The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Introduction by Olivia Gatwood, Modern Library, 2001, p. 45.