Olga S. Hardman

Like a Greek worry stone

       Or a polished rosary bead gliding through 

The fingers of a faithful old woman --

It looked so safe, so nourishing, so comforting -

It looked flawless.

It even had the contour of a human breast.

What possible evil could issue from a smooth,

Milk-chocolate breast, 

Swollen with nourishment for a loved one?

But I was only 5.

How could I know this was a classic deception?

That this beautiful, smooth, plump nut would kill -

Would kill the tiny squirrel my father rescued from the wood.

We had made him well with our love and our food when

The woods were barren.

My little pet ate my offering with such relish. But then -

Even the orphan squirrel didnít know the difference

Between a buckeye and a chestnut.

© 1990 Olga S. Hardman