Only Indians Can Talk to Animals

by Michael Daugherty


Snow covered fields

with ice hanging from limbs of trees.

A doe came walking out from behind a cedar

and looked at me for a moment.

“Can you hear me?” I asked.

“Nod your head if you can hear me.”

I stood silent for a moment waiting on her response.

“Do you understand me?” I asked.

As I stood waiting for this deer to talk to me

a squirrel scared her away.

I looked at the squirrel for a moment.

“Can you hear me?” I asked.

The squirrel picked up a nut.

So I sat on the snow-covered ground

and whistled at the birds flying above me.

“Can you hear me?” I asked.

The wind blew and the squirrel still stood there

looking at me with this nut in its mouth.

“Why won’t you speak to me, squirrel?” I asked.

“Do you not know that we are related?”

For a moment the squirrel stopped chewing

and looked directly at me.

He quickly turned and ran away.

Only Indians can talk to animals.


Michael Daugherty was raised in Quapaw, Oklahoma, and now resides in Neosho, Missouri. He is a proud citizen of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, and he and his wife are awaiting the arrival of their first child.

Originally published in This Land, Vol. 5 Issue 12, June 15, 2014.