Squirrel slides off our roof

A Poem by Jane Costlow

Squirrel slides off our roof
into the barrel of pollen-scummed rain, into
the big black trash can beside the beach rose.

A lid might have saved him.

On sunny summer days it waters the garden.

The morning’s post-storm stillness interrupted
by this floating corpse. One more.
Beneath our blooms and clover
it’s a graveyard out there: beloved felines, disemboweled
possum, the bird that hit the window.

Sleek stiff hair, already smelly,
it slides off the shovel and into the back-fence hole
beside the compost. Dust to dust.
Air, water, earth.
The fire of sun
steams off the heavy dew.
All our bodies fall into what comes next.
Et in arcadia the heat of life slips
quickly down to cold, once the course is run.

Morning light skids down the shingles.
Peas and basil lift with the warming air.
My stomach turns inside me.
I’m the only one
in this joint who knows the end.

 

Humus, Humility––A Common Root

Consider humus, that gift to the garden,
of rot. Layers and layers of life lived
of hurt and healing God knows
and presses down upon, compacting soil
and all matter, factored in to fertilizer
that grows the soul, making a way
for humility in place of arrogance.

Death before life is axiomatic; only
hear what Jesus said: that a grain
of wheat must fall to the ground before
it can ever give life; be gathered, threshed
and ground to flour, to make bread, to be
broken and fed to all for the sake of God,
who is Source of life, of rot, of humus,
that gift to the garden. Consider.