late summer porch sitting

Some mornings I get up before seven and sit with my prayer book on the bungalow’s porch.

Instead of faithfully reading each word, my eyes flicker up to the utility poles, their lines and cables adorned by mourning doves and other such creatures.

These days the thick black cords become tightropes for neighborhood squirrels.

South to north they scamper, twenty feet above Ripley Street, carrying green hulled black walnuts in their mouths.

One day I try to follow a little one to his nest, but he disappears somewhere in the neighbor’s bean tree: Catalpa speciosa, I think.

The Missouri summer is a humid blanket, wrapping herself around us tightly,

Yet they are already making their homes ready for winter.

When my gaze falls back to the book, I hurriedly mumble something for the squirrels before I remember that this day my prayer happened without any words.

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