The squirrel is in her little kitchen out by the tennis courts. The ceiling is too low for her, but that’s precisely the point. She wouldn’t want it any other way. How else to bear the peace of it, the steam rising from the roasted nuts on the stove, the pieces of green mixed with mustard, if there weren’t that game out there, the game she wishes to join. Wren A hits the ball to Wren B. They are doing it in the darkness. They are doing it with their eyes closed even though they know she’d gladly take one of them inside, dress him up with berries, and put him in her salad. Silly wren. The ceiling presses downward into that patch of greenness on her forehead. She must stop these thoughts if she is ever to get out of this kitchen. There’s a world out there and a world in here. It has taken her a whole lifetime to achieve that, and now she can’t stop herself from wanting to take the whole town down. The nuts are burning on the stove, flames eating up the curtains at her back. Her tail stinks of rubber. What would you do?
Paul Lisicky is the author of Lawnboy, Famous Builder, and the forthcoming books The Burning House (2011) and Unbuilt Projects (2012)He lives in New York City and Springs, New York, and has taught in the graduate writing programs at Cornell University, Rutgers-Newark, and Sarah Lawrence College. He currently teaches at NYU.