Did the squirrel want me to stay?

a poem by NILANJANA HALDAR, India

After searching for hours did I, over the bushes,
Over the bushes the red maples did rustle,
Bending before, over the log, did it crack open the acorn,
Then did it stand erect and tighten its jaw muscle.

Assuming it reacted in self-defence, I bent,
I bent below, and my jeans crunched the maples when,
I was baffled seeing it shoot fast fast fast,
Being bored by their usual cowardice again and again.

Enthralled by a woodland rodent’s boldness,
Boldness beheld by a furry tail crying valour,
Flinging behind maple, it reached me in no time and,
Halted two-legged, prayer-poised, resting its fur.

Dad called, it was my time to leave,
To leave meant leaving little nibbles behind,
But I felt the softest grip over my jeans just when,
I realised squirrels weren’t so different from mankind.

Was it ,”Share your chips with me, will ya?” Or
“Will ya take me away with you to faraway lands?”
The louder dad called me from afar as he walked away,
The harder the tingly-grip tightened with its hands.

Dear, I saw you surrender, I saw you rise up,
Rise up from folks who ridiculed your dream ride,
And even while time and cares draw me away, I’ll
Cherish that you chose to talk to me with pride. :) :)

—-By Miss Nilanjana Haldar

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