Chipmunk of A Rock
By Fleda Brown
I read, "The chipmunk of a rock dropped
in a stream," before I saw "chimmuck," a word
exactly right for the sound. But then there was
the rock, missing its chipmunk, the chipmunk
that had depended upon the rock and held onto it,
perhaps, as part of itself, so familiar it was
with the contours, ragged edges and smooth
surfaces. And the rock, feeling the cold
for the first time, feeling its crystallization
as a burden, a weight headed for the stream,
one giving, the other displacing exactly,
the geometry of cells arid as a dead planet,
indifferently chimmucking into watery space.
Among the magenta paintbrush,
cinquefoil, and heather of Mount Rainier, I sat
on a rise, and chipmunks emerged, six of them.
They came almost to my hand, little brush tails
like surprised rudders. It seemed painful,
to have to remain on Orange Alert both for good
and for bad: bits of sandwich dropped in the cracks,
and the huge, shadowy forms inexplicably arriving
and leaving with some morality of their own.
I had nothing to give, so I sat like a rock,
except for my breathing, which I kept smooth,
for diplomacy. In this way, we set up our relationship,
which I miss even now, its electric fragility,
the meanings that could shift second by second.
The major humiliation of my Tuesday took place in A.C. Moore, where I discovered that, in fact, I have dropped a size in trousers when I went to reach for a strand of beads on the upper rack and my jeans fell down. I was so busy trying not to trip over them and knock over the entire bead rack that I took an extra second to get them back up and I think I convinced another woman on the aisle that I was trying to flash her. I am just grateful that she fled instead of pulling out a phone and snapping a photo!
Otherwise it was a fairly uneventful day -- I returned the shirt I bought at Sears yesterday because it was the wrong shade and bought a black tank top, got birthday cards for Paul whose big day is Wednesday, did some editing, had dinner with my parents who got a birthday cake for him, watched The Seven Samurai on TCM's ongoing celebration of Kurosawa's 100th birthday, and witnessed the return (and spring fever) of Jack and Stephen, the squirrels that visit our deck and try to steal our birdseed whenever possible: