Natural History

March: a porcupine spent
March nights gnawing sap
from the blue spruce trunk;
he climbed two thirds of
the cold March branches
before he bit into the bark.
A tree as tall as a house.
Now, midsummer, the sprucegum
still bleeds; like a root
cut quick by the blade
of a mower, the whole upper trunk
slowly gums up.
The porcupine trespasses
still, waddling toward evening
across the backyard, like
a dirty quilled panda.
The two dogs might smile,
if they could. They hold back.
from experience. The porcupine,
fat as a garbage pail,
admits, to his nocturnal
seasons, no moral.
The spruce, through July,
dies without sorrow.