I almost stepped on it,
the squirrel slumped

in death-stance over
the curb, a net of black

spots—fleas?—pinning its
underbelly. Looking left

to right, I realized there
was no one to tell, that

only I could see the killed
animal splayed on concrete:

a pink crescent of tongue
peeking up its throat

like night coming;
the tail, all bristle

and no backbone,
making a sack

the size of its body
beside its head;

the hands unclenched
like a swimmer mid-stroke.

Scentless, bloodless,
the entire body

yawned open—
hands and throat and eyes—

as though readying
to clamp shut and steal

the last trickle of daylight,
of sun undressing

wing by wing to pale naked
moon—not pearl white,

but the white absence
in an oyster’s mouth.

Jenna Nesky is an autistic, Jewish, bisexual teen writer and poet. She is in tenth grade at Carver Center for Arts and Technology in the literary prime. From Maryland, she turns sixteen this year.

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