Friday, 25 of April of 2014

Susan McCampbell Ring – Chipmunks Of Trial Lake

Chipmunk PoetryEver since I was a little girl I fantasized
about little wild animals running up to touch me.

A steely-cold High Uintah morning:
and I’m twenty-six, sitting on pine duff waiting

for the sun. When finally it peeks
over the far mountain and through

the canopy of tremendous old firs dripping lichen
it wakes an excited tribe of chipmunks.

I decide that if I can sit still
enough–and THINK like

a boulder–they won’t mind me and they’ll
just go about their October morning

rituals. I am stone, I say to myself,
over and over, clearing my head

of artificial chatter and the “civilized”
things upon which I dwell. I am stone.

I keep my eyes lowered, trying not
to watch their striped antics and

velvet acrobatics, trying not
to smile when one is chased into my leg,

and trying not to laugh out loud when one
hops to my Levi-clad knee, jumps to my

sweatered arm, scurries up to my
neck and tickles me with tiny

flicking hands. Soon the others
catch on: a grand idea! Running

laps on my shoulders and back,
across my elbows and cross-legged

lap, and once or twice even perching
high on my winter wool cap.

I don’t dare blink. I try to breathe
slower than the trees and I try to stay

as still as granite. The chipmunks frolic like
tiny clowns–testing me, mocking me?–

and then chase each other away. Now I feel
lonelier than rock and I think

I understand how the Earth must be taking
the news of mass extinction.

15 VII 94
Susan McCampbell Ring


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