A soon-back-to-school, true-story tidbit from the Poetry Marchives:

Small packages

My mom found the dead chipmunk
I had brought home from the lake
at the end of the summer I was ten; a
lifeless stripe-tailed rodent who had
come home with me in a black-and-blue
JC Penney shoebox on which I had
scrawled ‘stuff’ in warning-like, stay
out, black MagicMarker

He sure looked stuffed.

A car (maybe Ivar’s Jeep) had run
him over on the driveway leading up
to Ivar and Lila’s house; caught him
dead-on from behind as he was
running upstream on the sandy drive
flattening his little chipmunk carcass
into a faux- bearskin rug fit for use
by Barbie’s Alpine Chalet fireplace

Absolutely flat, a cookie-cutter
perfect silhouette.

With two sticks, I moved him to the
cement fringe of the garage slab;
the northwoods sun used July to bake
him leaving a clean, tanned hide

By the time my summer at the lake
had drawn to a close he was stiff,
flat, odorless – fit for petting.

He was then slipped into the box,
transported home in our dark-blue
Plymouth Fury (that in the right light
resembled a hearse) where he then
got stuffed under my single-bed
mausoleum and was soon forgotten.

The week before school, archeologist
mom was cleaning out my room, found
the box, called up the block to the
Gilberg’s house, where I was playing,
had me come home.

Mrs. Gilberg stifled a laugh as I left –
‘guffawed,’ she told me years later –
once I had gone out her door, as my
mom had informed her of the discovery

I caught all sorts of hell when I got home –
but at least I never got my hide tanned,
and shoved into a box under a bed.


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