Tag Archives: Squirrels

How to Train Your Squirrel by April Salzano

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How to Train Your Squirrel

to eat from a bowl is not an easy task.

You should choose a color other

than blaze orange, a material besides

plastic. Cajun almonds and salted sesame sticks

placed near the patio door seem to cause

aggression toward what used to be

his playmates in the yard. He chases away

all critters except the Nut Hatch who is able

to fly stealth operations and grab peanuts

without landing completely. Do not wait

until the blinking creature is scratching

at the glass to offer a treat. This reinforces

demanding behavior and does not promote

sharing with friends. Ignore the urge to touch

his patchy grey coat or to open the door

wide enough to permit his entrance.

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Find recent work and a bio of Salzano here. Additional poems on WIZ are available here.

 

Photo by A.J. Huffman. Used with permission.

A Dozing Squirrel by April Salzano

squirrel2

A Dozing Squirrel

full of almonds and sesame sticks, warms

his belly on wood of deck. Spread

like a loaf of homemade bread, his eyes

become commas even as his chest expands,

contracts like a blood pressure pump.

Front paws hang over edge as if more cat

than woodland wanderer, tail curled over his back,

temporarily not twitching in anxiety. I stand

at the window, wait to make sure no injury

is preventing his chaotic, convulsive foraging.

I turn away, distracted. When I return,

seconds later, he is gone.

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photo3 April Salzano has previously published on small creatures on WIZ. Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, Convergence, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus and Salome, Poetry Quarterly, and is forthcoming in Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. She also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.

 

Photo by the author.

Near a pond, with bread by Percival P. Pennywhistle

Blake's lambs

If ducks be here, Lord love ‘em,*

For ducks** were made by Him:

Like lambs and tigers,*** sticks and stones,

Whales and whistles, broken bones,

Dogs and squirrels, cats**** and mice,

Girls***** and gimmicks, fire and ice.

And, if ducks, then children,****** too;

Which is to say, the Lord made you.*******

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* There is, as the most precocious among you will already know, a saying about ducks and lords and love which has a profound and mystical meaning at its heart, as the Professor is attempting to show, and so will not spoil by giving it away here.
** Among, as is about to become apparent, a host of other things (though not, clearly, individually), several billion of which are not mentioned here, but at least two handfuls of which are.
*** The Professor thanks his auspicious and decidedly dead colleague, William Blake, for the notion, which can be found in his haunting and intricately illustrated book, Songs of Innocence and Experience. Indeed, the image above the poem is a portion of one such illustration, which is why it is of lambs and not of ducks. (The tiger, as it turns out, is hiding on another page.)
**** The Professor has included cats against his better judgment.
***** This fact will, perhaps, surprise young male readers, but it is true, and the Professor is pressed to report that girls are not only more interesting than boys in the main, but they also generally smell better.
****** Do not, under any circumstances, allow your parents or your older brother to convince you otherwise.
******* Which is not to say that He meddled in any particular or immediate way in your making—that is entirely your parents’ fault—rather He made the system by and into which you were born, which he occasionally bumps and nudges, but only, the Professor suspects, when invited to.
Nor can He be held responsible for broken bones or other maladies and misfortunes. Such things are, we must accept, a part of life. To think otherwise is to engage something called a “theosophy,” which is box-like, awkward, cumbersome, but ultimately less weighty or important than it thinks it is.
In any event, Mr. Blake’s lamb would agree, bleatingly.
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Professor Percival P. Pennywhistle, PhD, is, as many of you already know, handsome and brilliant and hard at work at several collections of poetry for people, especially smallish and precocious ones.