Sleeping with the Squirrels by Tracy Mishkin

Leaf-fall reveals their fat nests
cluttering branches, silhouetted
against the pale sky like hornet hives.
Still, I am a guest. I climb.

Thirty feet up, where two limbs meet,
the fox squirrel sits in the shadow
of her tail, invites me into the hollow
sphere perched on a platform of twigs,
lined with grass and moss.

She sets acorns before me, this solitary
forager, bustling and clucking until
I take one. We talk of kits and children
until we can scarcely see each other.
Her eyes brighten when I accept
her invitation to spend the night.

Sleeping with a squirrel is like curling
up in a hammock. I am warmed
by the embrace of her luxurious tail
under a blanket of leaves.

Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn’t Make It to McDonald’s, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014.

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