My Neighbor the Squirrel

by Alaena Hope

My neighbor the squirrel is an apple thief.

He runs through my garden on swift little feet,

Carrying off my apples right there in broad daylight,

Unconcerned that he’s stealing right there in my sight.

I’ve tried hiding my apples to no avail.

My neighbor is always right there on the trail.

Neither paper wraps nor wire nets deter him for long.

Sooner or later, the apples are gone.

In truth, I wouldn’t begrudge him an apple or three,

If only he’d remember to leave some for me.

But until my dear neighbor learns how to share,

We must fight for each apple my apple tree bears.

(Published December 2018 in the collection Everyday Magic: The Dragon on My Bookshelf and Other Poems)

Author's Notes: This poem was based on our father's eternal battle with the squirrels in our yard. He really did try wrapping the apples in wire nets and paper bags, but they never worked. One particularly competitive year, he picked the last apple before it was grown so that the squirrels wouldn't have the last word.