The Crucifixion of a Summer Squirrel (A Suburban Story)

Now here helpless in the chill of a hollow spring I give remembrance. Let us conjure up the cut of the boy who stole my neighbor’s new Ford, so out of place in our sated neighborhood — his dirty denim disclosing gray briefs, his tunic too gaudy for another Tuesday sunup, communion from the evening prior still clinging to his chin. I looked up at the eternal firmament and wondered whether he could smell my surfeit through the screened window. No, he only lifted his drawn body on high — a new life — hands glued to the stolen steering, foot keen on the gas, and climbed the rising road toward a faraway sun who died too long ago.

I admit my ambivalence was less than noble; I did nothing to prevent him. I might have been a speck — endless and helpless — of the very chair I was in. But you weren’t there, Iscariot, you don’t know: The owner of that truck once splayed the little limbs of a bluegrass rat and hammered him holy to the oak, that time my wife and I took what action we could. But the lawman said there was nothing to do, no evidence — just some rusty nails and a quiet sneer.

Though the culprit was never found, the cool blue boys hauled his truck back three days later. They told us not to worry, hell too is far away — it’s the place from where the soiled boy had come. But when I replied that the devil’s work is naught but unresolved repetition, no one spoke. I’ll never forget the little sounds.

Vaughn Hayes is a poet and writer living in central Kentucky. His work has been featured in Harbinger Asylum. Words are his whole world.

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