The top half of a dead elm behind the house crashes down in the wind. I remember the porcupine in its topmost branch like a crown of thorns.

The bottom half of the porcupine-girdled cherry tree is in bloom; the top is lifeless. You’d think the news would travel from the ground up.

Just past sunrise, the powerline is a tongue of light off through the woods. A heavy contrail drifts toward the sun like a deepening frown.

I watch a porcupine waddling toward the porch in my camcorder’s small screen, how the spines move as its fat flesh jiggles. Rain on the way.

The ice is all gone, but the cedar next to my side door still leans away from the house at a 30-degree angle, like a giant green erection.