The squirrels have not yet found
the figs. They stole every single apricot
on the newly planted tree in days,
even though the roots are fortressed
to keep gophers out, the branches
fenced to protect deer from foraging.
Then the hellions pilfered half the plums;
I’d see them scurrying up the trunk,
running down with purple,
ripe ones in their overstretched mouths.

When they had eaten all the orchard’s
harvest (the figs were not yet ripe)
the squirrels made do with
their last resort—the orange tree near the house.
I laughed to see one push a globe
up the hill toward her underground den,
maneuvering it with nose and neck,
only to have the sphere roll back down,
her darting after it, to start all over again –
a modern-day furry Sisyphus.

Mostly I have given up and buy my fruit
at the farm stand around the corner.
But figs are my favorite;
I’ve rescued five ripe ones so far.
Maybe the squirrels missed them,
don’t like the taste, or they feel remorse.
Returning up the road from a walk, I spy
a squirrel scout peeking down the driveway;
our eyes meet, then he takes off,
sprinting full speed to warn his brethren,

Here she comes, down the holes!

:: Carolyn Chilton Casas