Wednesday, September 24, 2003

I'll warn you that this is a dead squirrel story: no more than that.
A young woman wrote one in a poetry class that I took in 1999.
By the end of the class she had rewritten this rough work,
Changing the "poor thing, twitching," into "The Stricken"
In the rewrite, the rodenticidal motorist becomes a sort of magician,
transforming the jagged sense of guilt into polished gems.
The real story lies in the transition from the creative memoir
to the magnificent final work. The first poem was grounded in her actual experience, or so it appeared, and the second work, fine in its own right, contained a contempt for the whole process. Divorced from the story, "The Stricken" seemed to reject greif itself.
Now my story is the one that never got told.
the squirrel was quick and I was slow.
I raised his body from the road bed,
and held him 'till his eyes went cold.

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