Emily Scudder

We aren’t supposed to know so much about so much

 The phone rings, the mailbox fills, the school 
 bus and garbage trucks block the side streets. 
 Horns honk. Sprinklers pop up. Like you do, 
 flashes, in my peripheral vision. 
 I believe in ghosts, never expected to 
 but you died and life tilted to the wild side 
 where fences and clocks stop, leave me 
 wide open, squinting hard. 
 Where did you go?
 I think you might be the chipmunk that 
 eyes me through the screen door as I 
 clean the house, the Sold sign out front. 
 I explain aloud: Dad, we’re taking care of Mom. 
 On its hind legs, the chipmunk stares. 
 I keep talking. Dad, we sold the house. 
 Mom needs to move. I love you, Dad. 
 I am talking to a chipmunk. It skitters off. 
 I walk into the kitchen, through 
 the living room out to the back porch. 
 The chipmunk is there now. Staring
 at me, through the screen porch door. 
 Is that you, Dad?  
 My father loved the chipmunks. Watched 
 them dart into drainpipes, into the open 
 garage door. Our neighbor stops over.
 We chat in the backyard. 
 The chipmunk dashes by.
 Your father thought my cat was eating the 
 chipmunks. Never let the topic drop.
 I know my Dad is listening in the drainpipe. 
 Until I don’t know anymore. So I write it down. 

Emily Scudder is the author of “Feeding Time” (Pecan Grove Press) and the chapbooks “Natural Instincts” and “A Change of Pace” (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Harvard Review, Agni Online, Margie, New Letters, Harpur Palate, Salamander, North Dakota Quarterly, Ethel Zine, and other places. Visit her online at www.emilyscudder.com

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