In December's back yard crystalline quietude,

    A silver-tailed squirrel

    Leaped startled from a bush,

    Scampered 'cross the lawn,

        Bounding from snow drifts to

            Green-patch grasses,

                Sprintily dashing toward a tree.

Without a Christmas moment's hesitation,

Not the slightest troubling beam of light,

The old man raised an imaginary rifle to his shoulder —

    "Bam! Bam! Bam!"

        His shatter-blast voice

            Smashed like a fist

                Through wintry air.

Smiling briefly with smug satisfaction,

Momentary blood-lust sated,

Power glittering his 86-year-old eyes,

         He walked into the house,

            Forgetting his envisioned deed,

                On to other things.

    The quickly squirrel dartly-dashed

    A-skitter up the tree,

    Perky-eared and misty-breathing fast,

        Watching flicky-tailed and

             Speedy-eyes intently

                Til we'd gone.

Shocked even to this moment,

        I felt three bullets rip through fur

            Tearing my suddenly insides into howly-fires.

I lay legs a-shiver-twitching,

    Heart race jaggy,

        Eyes a-fluttering,

            Light-sight bleary, dimly fading,

                Darkling mountain-shades descending,

                    Bleeding flowers on the snow.

        Why did he shoot?

                What had I done?

                         Who had I hurt or shamed?


Is the life in me

        Not the same as the life in him?


                             He had

                                        Not yet




Gone, yes,


                But here,

                    That place

                            That time

                                Still brooding,

                                                A moment in

                                                        Wintry air.

A Moment in Wintery Air