Poetry: Squirrel Poem by Meg Eden

In “Squirrel Poem,” the speaker comes to terms with the fate of the discarded, the squirrels on the road, the neglected graduate students. Ultimately, the speaker confronts this otherwise harsh reality: “We will make them look at us.”

Squirrel Poem


A run-over squirrel lays in the road,

but this isn’t enough to write a poem. The road

is filled with dead squirrels. Why write

about this one? The pathos of his entrails

remind me that we write our obituaries

in job applications. On the last day of work,

an exit interview asked me:

any advice on how we can find your replacement?

There are plenty of English professors in the road.


Vultures, like estate sale shoppers, pick

at what’s unspoiled. They leave

with their beaks and claws full, the way I scavenged

for food at department symposiums,

trying to survive graduate school. I brought trays

of leftover sandwiches back to my husband

(the departments insisted). Sometimes they gave us

so much it would spoil before we could eat it all.

What sick waste.


Dead animals clutter every road. I slow

at each downed body, want

the radio noise to be enough

to drown out their breaking bones. I want to think

swerving offers some grace—don’t we all

deserve that much? I am exhausted,

dear dead squirrels. We leave

what we love to provide, only to be made

carrion. The road listens to no stories.

Everyone calls us expendable, but we

will mark everything we touch.

We will make them look at us.


Meg Eden

Meg Eden is a 2020 Pitch Wars mentee, and teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She is the author of the 2021 Towson Prize for Literature winning poetry collection “Drowning in the Floating World” (Press 53, 2020) and children’s novels, most recently “Selah’s Guide to Normal” (Scholastic, 2023). Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.

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