As I walked through the park tonight
(near where the statue stands)
I saw a woman catch a squirrel
and hold it in her hands.
The squirrel panted from the chase,
its energy fast flagging.
She’d only caught the beast because
one leg was bent and dragging.
Her skin, her hands, glowed in the light
of winter evening dying
as fiery as the shining hair
along her shoulder lying.
She stroked and soothed the frightened thing,
and then I heard her speak
two soft words to the injured squirrel
that nestled to her cheek.
She put it down — her hands, its fur
blazed up in sudden flame
an instant only — long enough
for me to know her name.
The squirrel whisked up the nearest tree
as nimble as a spark,
and, watching him, I missed which way
she took through gathering dark —
perhaps She didn’t leave at all,
The Healer in the park.
[Elizabeth Creith draws on her love of history, myth and folklore to write her poetry and fiction. She lives, writes and commits art in Wharncliffe, Northern Ontario, occasionally distracted by her husband, her dog and her cat. Elizabeth blogs about writing and art at Elizabeth Creith’s Scriptorium.]