Tag Archives: Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul

“Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul” – Fiction by Caroll Sun Yang

Squirrel Nutkin – Beatrix Potter, 1903

A vision of roadkill gives life to some wonderfully psychotropic short fiction in “Dead Squirrel Oh My Soul,” one of two pieces by Caroll Sun Yang in our Spring 2017 issue.

{ X }

Jesus, don’t want me for a sunbeam.
Sunbeams are never made like me.

Nirvana

{ Squirrel }

IS THERE NOTHING SO EXTRAORDINARY ABOUT ROADKILL? Today, I have taken the exact measure of java, carbs and psycho-tropics to be able to keenly observe that this squirrel does not look dead but rather in slumber. An earth-colored body unmarred, at rest with a bushy tail curled slightly in, sharp-tipped paws laid upon each other as if in lazy prayer, a round frog belly covered in a down of cocoa-cream fur, overgrown teeth in a surprised mouth, slit wet eyes and such bitty folded ears pasted against its head. If I scream, will it hear me?

Los Angeles’ sunlight is stark, with a pale topaz gleam that provokes a suicidal nerve. I felt it many Augusts. Sometimes you will come out into this luster, from within dank dream-infested apartments or sprawling pseudo-Mediterranean abodes or any of the ill-composed habitats between and blink many times in an effort to calibrate self to such exposure. Blink, red behind the lids, blink, white, blink sunset, red-orange, white, blood oranges, white, tracers and floaters, veins, pomegranate, blink, open blue, blink… Thick polluting dust and the molecules of deferred hopes might take you. Sometimes that dazzling light plus the babble of traffic, daytime neon, alarms, vendors, construction, birds, elevators, footsteps, chewing, whispers… mated with the smell of tar and industry and perfumes and decay will deliver you straight to panic.

A poisonous sun shines hard on our dead squirrel, stiff rays push through a.m. clouds and smog. A religious feeling light spills over the beast, like it is a Virgin Mary in a master painting. The squirrel has a mother, as all must. A juvenile death is incorrect, even in the case of a peanut-brained mammal; premature death steals opportunities for action. Actions like falling in love, breaking up, falling apart, giving seed, taking seed, trusting again and slowly not. Imagine this rodent, before the vehicle met him, doing what it knew instinctively to do. Forage, collect, store, mate. It had innate sense of beginnings and endings. Begin spring. End spring. Begin summer. Reproduce. End that. Start fall. Collect like mad. Store. Feed. Reproduce. Spring. An ancient rhythm.

Cycle. Wilderness. Go.

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