The creature darted across midday’s blistering parking lot,
sheltering in the shade of one car, then another, as I watched
through the glass of a doctor’s office door in my new home town, cool within.
It was lean and low to the ground, with tufts of fur rakishly angled
atop its erect ears, steel grey from a quivering nose to the tip of a long,
gorgeously full tail, an animal never to be imagined in this nearly treeless desert.
Its unmistakable silhouette, though skinnier and of a different color,
transported me in time and suddenly I’m homesick for green grass,
swaying walnut trees, and the evening rush of wind from an incoming storm.
Another hotfooted padding across the parking lot brought me back from
sleek, red squirrels scurrying and chattering through Indiana trees, to this pitiful,
flattened, grey cousin, straining to survive, a transplant to this dusty western town.