The Albino Squirrel
Bury it, I said. In the field. No,
Said Steve. We’ll put a rock on top, I said. No.
Steve lifted the squirrel from the street, walked stiffly through
The kitchen door and down the basement stairs
As I spread newspaper on the laundry table
Hard lit by a humming fluorescent. And I stood
At my brother’s side as he took his penknife out and slit the belly
Beneath the keel of the breastbone,
Through the pale mutant fur
Matted and pebbled from the street. His hands opened the soft paunch,
And together we stared
Into the riddling glitter. I closed
My eyes. Say when you’re done.
The sounds of slop, Steve’s grunts, and once,
A low whistle. Steve said Look
And I blinked open,
The table spread with heaps of innards seeping into the news. Look
He said, insistent this time. And the knife
Nosed a small slab of lung, still pink,
As if harboring a spot of wind in it.
Lifted an intestine’s gleaming ravel. Then took on its tip the plum-
Prize of the heart, bruise-dark,
Startled out of its music.
Oh, I said, looking at my brother, and he at me, the fluorescent light
Floating in his glasses, two lozenge-shaped fires. The squirrel’s
Empty pouch to one side,
Its small pale head
Turned tiredly away.