Otospermophilus variegatus

Rock squirrel
Scott Wiggerman



Like old-time Mormons of New Mexico,

each male with sister-wives and litters of

agile infants--but missionaries? No.

In morning hours they forage high above

the desert, scrambling over rocks and roots,

gathering heaven’s manna, mission trips

as brief as minutes, collecting the fruits

for families, one role of elderships.

To dig is their religion: dwellings where

unseen tunnels deepen mystery,

where speckled creatures thrive as gods of their

own burrows, snug in hole theology.

Chihuahuan species deserving my praise—

oh, convert to their long-established ways.




Scott Wiggerman is the author of three books of poetry, Leaf and Beak: Sonnets, Presence, and Vegetables and Other Relationships; and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he volunteers with the Open Space Visitor Center.