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Odometer
By Michael Pontacoloni

I read that time moves slower
For fast moving objects.
So when I watched a squirrel pick out
The acorns he'll bury and forget over the winter,
His hands and mouth and teeth and claws
Moving across each nut with the kind of speed
For wrapping late Christmas presents,
I didn't worry that he was nervous and
Dig some holes for him with my fingertip
Or make a pyramid of acorns for him to choose from,
But calmly watched him work in his allegro tempo.
He has all the same experience, I surmised,
As I or a house parrot has, only my year
Might be ten or twenty-five of his.

I watched him there, scampering
Across the tree's growing shadow,
Never pausing to look at the pink clouds.
After some minutes, a year or two for a mayfly,
I dreamt of how much I could accomplish
If, with my natural human life span,
I lived at the speed of squirrel--
My life's work completed in a year;
A novel a week, a poem per hour.

That evening, as I held the tape for my mother
And cut ribbon with my other hand,
I dreamt of how relaxing it must be
To live at the speed of oak.





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Document last modified on: 12/03/2006

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