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The Chipmunk and I

Text of Poem

The chipmunk sits upright
(as some men do not)
and opens the peanut shell
at one end and with tiny hands
presses the nut into a cheek
swollen like mumps— the chipmunk
sequesters every nut he finds,
dim in all our veins rides the
spectre hunger. His stripes
(the chipmunk’s) run up his back
to the end of his nose, his fur
is flecked with gold, his bushy tail
stands straight up, he jerks
like a wound-up toy. I watch him
sniff his way to the windfalls
I throw him and expect no thanks
or greetings. He eyes me as
nature’s neighbor to be neighbored
at a formal distance. We know where
the line is drawn and keep
our own places.

First Line
The chipmunk sits upright
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
Chicago Tribune Magazine (3 Aug. 1969) Section 7 page 60.
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Twitter Quote
We know where / the line is drawn and keep / ​our own places.