Forest Dirge

A plaintive
mournful sound
A feeble rising
tone slowly
well down the
wooded path
I had found
So compelling
I was drawn
to discover
what manner
of bird
could be
heard emoting
such a call
So stalking
ever so slowly
I made my way
closer and closer
to the unseen source
silent as a jungle cat
until distracted
by the crash of a
large bird launching
from a high perch
above me something
dropping heavily onto
the dead carpet
of leaves below
as I watched
him go
Regaining my
composure I
moved closer
to examine what
had fallen to find
that which remains
of a squirrel after
a red-tail hawk has dined –
only a tail with a flap
of skin attached and
while contemplating
this surprise from over
my left shoulder that
same sad cry came again
I saw a
small squirrel
hugging tightly
to a limb
his butt
tucked up
the trunk
of the tree
and he continued
to repeat
that piteous
refrain as
I watched

to bear witness
to something
so sacred
So unexpected
as a young squirrel
mourning the death
of one of its own

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