I Didn’t Know I Wasn’t Supposed to Love

posted November 7, 2020

Another thing I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to love until college was squirrels. My babysitter in New York would take me to the park, and when I’d point my mittened hand, she would call

Here, SquirrellySquirrellySquirrelly.

I thought it was a call. Maybe it was more of a song.

I thought she really believed it would work. Maybe I really believed it would work.

I didn’t know I loved that babysitter until right now. Did she know she loved squirrels?

Did she love squirrels? Did she love me?

I watch one, now, gently depressing the highest regions of the newly bare trees.

“Rats with tails,” my college roommate called them, and with one flick of her hand, they were transfigured: dirty, diseased; not even worthy of eating.

But witness now the acrobatics, the ballet, the way their backs ripple with muscle and determination.

Everything begins in mysticism and ends in politics, says Péguy.

But did he tell us how to get back? Can the process be reversed?

Many of my dear friends and fellow scribblers are writing daily these days, and maybe you are too. We’re part of a longstanding tradition called 30 Poems in November, and we write to raise funds for the work of Center for New Americans, a local non-profit that supports newcomers to this country on the level of goods, services, helpful information, English lessons and more. I am posting first drafts of my poems daily on my blog, although I am defining “Poem” loosely. I would be grateful if you would sponsor me and/or another poet. All funds go directly to Center for New Americans.

The Comments

Join the Conversation. Post with kindness.

  1. So lovely! I’ve always loved squirrels, and next to otters as my favorite aquatic creature, squirrels are my favorite terrestial animal, then come the chipmunks. So on the mark was the quote by Peguy, and great that you asked the question about how we could find our way back. Definitely working on that process myself.

Leave a Reply to Nerissa Nields Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More Like This

Thoughts After Listening to a Podcast Interview of Tricia Hersey

Raising a child in America is an act of violenceEverything from the crashing together of the two cells(To say nothing of the act that caused that unionWhether it involved a…


See the world through your new pair of glasses: 
Only what is visible 
Through this rectangle.
This is your subject. 
Now, you may travel the world
To gain a new perspective
Or you can stay home, practice spelunking.
And when your child comes to you and announces
Their path is not your path…


[h/t Austin Kleon, post “Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees” here. Also inspired by quotation from AF: “My Higher Power can see everything in all directions, and I need that wisdom today.”]