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Morning Thoughts

by Erica Hampton

A squirrel nestled in on my lap and tried

to tell me that everything is connected,

but I didn’t believe him.

The sun hid behind the clouds, the birds

chirped out their two cents,

but who cares what birds think? The squirrel told me

to stop using my baby voice to speak

to him, but I gave him a pacifier

and he scurried away, squeaking squirrel again.


Later, a rabbit ran across my path, then he

doubled back for good measure. He considered me

for a moment before turning and running to a man

across the courtyard. The man had a knife. The rabbit’s eyes

gleamed shock then realization, yet he kept running

until the pure fur around his throat became drenched.

For that man, the rabbit slit his own throat. Want to try a taste?


Not particularly, and then the man was gone, but blood

lay splattered across the courtyard running like a river

for my running shoes as if I had been the one to stab

with an invisible dagger whose imprint could never be washed away.

As if I had been the one who killed that which ran

toward me. The sun rained blood for the wind to play with.


What does a squirrel or rabbit know about humans? Nothing

besides the way a car can crunch through bone or a knife can slice

apart soft, wet fur even while someone, somewhere, is cooing

the sound we make to the sweet and innocent, like doves

promising peace and love before watching dispassionately, like hawks.


The birds still sang me their songs while the sky became blue

as a forget-me-not, clear of any clouds. As I left the courtyard,

someone else sat down in my heat on the cement, and the squirrel

reappeared. Perhaps this new person will listen.

Behind me, the birds suddenly stop singing.

About the Author

Erica Hampton graduated with a writing degree from the University of Missouri. 

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