Affirmation of Faith
I believe there is nothing to be done
for the squirrel that’s been dying
all morning on my gravel driveway.
Yet he refuses to stop moving his tail.
I believe that if I try to say nothing
the slow, steady movement of this world
will still say something. Like a squirrel falling
from a high limb with a graceless thud.
I believe in the father who could not feel
the world moving the day a sparrow
flew into the tall plate-glass window
of the living room. From his easy chair,
the father uttered the grunt of vague annoyance
and surprise he gives to all experience not routine.
I believe I stood and walked to the window
and watched the sparrow close her eyes
evenly over four minutes while her small head
became more and more perfectly framed
by an expanding halo of clear fluid. I believed then
that the halo would continue growing even
if a neighborhood cat were to spirit the carcass away,
that the night’s forecast showers might spread
the bird’s diluted life throughout the back yard.
“What are you doing?” my father finally blurted,
turning his annoyance on my silent vigil. “Nothing,”
I said to the back of his head and sat back down.
I do not believe my father can feel the movement.
I believe the squirrel’s tail has stopped moving.
I do not believe a special providence
makes this world say anything. The squirrel is dead.
I believe nothing could be so very still.