On Killing a Chipmunk
By Eric Lieberman
I had to kill a chipmunk last night.
The two black dogs saw it darting across the ground among the big pines.
We were talking - June, JD and I
When we heard the squeaking.
JD’s dog - a black one year old Shepard named Bailey
Had pounced on the chipmunk
And had it in her mouth.
“Stop” we screamed
And we dragged the dogs away from the munk and put them in our trucks.
The munk lay on the ground
Its back legs limp and akimbo.
“What should we do?” asked June.
JD said: “I can get a shovel. I think it’s back is broken”.
I looked at the little munk
Now hanging by its two-front paws from the side of a pine.
I said, “we should catch it and keep it like a hamster. We will take care of it.”
“That would be no life for it”, said June. “And,it won’t survive on it’s own.”
JD walked away to get a shovel.
The munk lost it’s grasp and fell to the pine-needled ground between my feet.
The choice was mine.Should I save it? Should I let it suffer alone and dying through a cold night? Should I end it’s journey on this plane?
This was my job to do and not JD's.
I picked up a stick and hit the munk in the middle.
It squeaked three squeaks at me.
I hit it once more - quickly and firmly - and it was gone.
I slept restlessly last night - the image of the munk refusing it leave my mind.
And wondering, would it have made it through the night on its own?