A squirrel lies on its side

while the sun lays gentle fingers,

hoping to warm him in his hour of need.

But nothing can heat up preternatural cold.

I fend off Mother Nature’s cleanup crew,

remove the maggots,

and tenderly lift him and place him

in the soft fissure I have hollowed

out of the earth beneath an oak tree.

With him I place a few nuts and acorns,

for the journey to his afterlife.

The red jays and chickadees have come out

to offer an eulogy and I

say a silent prayer of safe passage.

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