Rhythms: An Ode to Squirrels

Source: Pexels. Grey/White Squirrel

by Cheri Peters

Whose acrobatics symbolize my sanity,  

or lack thereof. 

Scampering through trees 

like thoughts fly through my head. 

Ideas tumble, and jumble about  

in a frenzied fury  

like furry backyard gymnasts.  


Words, the same words  

loop through my head. 

Like squirrels on an exercise wheel 

spinning out distorted words 

that twist the truth.   

Contorted lies that resemble  

little squirrel bodies  

hanging and swinging,  

grasping as they dangle  

off the end of a branch  

with nothing but air beneath them.  


My mind twirls in midair  

as the internal negativity 

ricochets through my brain.  

How much credence  

should I give to the words of others?  

Callous comments  

bloated with self-importance  

but burrowed deeply. 

Their whispers bite at my brain 

like rabid, noxious squirrels  

rashly uttering 

reckless, careless words 

meant to poison my soul  

and slash at my heart  

with their razor sharp claws. 


I seize the branch of sanity  

remembering to breathe in and breathe out 

as I search among the detritus  

in the patched-up squirrel’s nest  

of my brain. 

I summon the weapon of discernment  

and feel it machete through the sordid swamp  

of venomous words  

designed to sabotage  

my sense of self. 


Slowly, slowly,  

squirrely chatter forms positive thoughts. 

Self-validation begins to leap  

from synapse to synapse, 

zig-zagging through the branches of my brain  

as neuroelectric words of comfort 

course through my body. 


I hear and hoard,  

the calming, soothing words 

as if they were acorns 

that I can bury deep  

in the garden of my heart.  

Intentionally planting seeds for next time  

when the toxic squirrel relatives  

unexpectedly drop by  

to pillage and plunder my psyche. 


Maybe by then  

the words that carousel in my brain  

will be like carefree, merry little squirrels  

frolicking around and around the trunks of trees  

playing a wholesome game of tag,  

as they romp through the lush garden  

I planted a season ago.