Alan: A small clearing with a garden, almost surrounded by trees: an Eden for a host of herbivores, vertebrate and invertebrate, including the porcupine, among our least discriminating and most persistent of devourers, with a weakness for slices of salted fruit.
I Address The Porcupine
O Pig-of-the-woods, get back! Get back!
Do not tread upon my deck at night.
Do not sample my garden.
I cage the eggplants
that you have found and shredded,
and the tomatoes that you broke
getting at the eggplants.
I have fenced the three tubs of petunias
that you grazed to stubs – the great deflowering! –
and have watered and trimmed
the marigolds, zinnias that you stomped
in their boxes.
I have baited the trap, and now
I see you by first light, jailed,
disgruntled, indeed fretful, even
deeply pissed off.
We are taking a ride, O Pig-of-the-woods,
to the wildlife refuge.
I apologize for the jouncing
as I drive down this long dirt road.
At last we are here: a pond,
old spruces, young popple.
Plenty to eat, if boring, and shelter.
I lift the trap door
and before I am done
out you squeeze and hustle into the forest,
leaving behind a few quills, a musty smell,
the sweet taste of watermelon still in your mouth.
Nancy: August – perfect afternoons for drowsing coincide with the sudden rush of growth in the garden. The vegetables see their chance and take it.
The Yucatecan Hammock
While the woman drowses in the Yucatecan hammock,
the beans are forcing the shingles off the roof of the shed.
She’s dreaming lassitudinous tropical fish dreams, while,
unwatched, the zucchini reveal their destinies
and prepare for deep-water reunions.
She should not sleep. Witch grass never sleeps.
Beets do not slumber.
The woman in the Yucatecan hammock?
The peas are sly; their hooded eyes reveal nothing.
Splay-footed beets close ranks.
Ah yes, the woman.
But it was August – the corn whispers and turns –
she was falling behind.