Equinox. I spot some goldenrod, done flowering, turning yellow a second time. My mother stops by to tell me about a singing porcupine.
I haven’t seen a porcupine lately, but who else could be debarking the tulip tree’s lower branches? They glow white against the rainy woods.
Dull yellow stripes in the fog: the rising sun slipping between ridge-top trees; thin tulip poplar branches chewed bare by a porcupine.
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.
Patter of rain from a leaden sky. Mouth-shaped wounds on the cherry tree where the porcupine chewed it—by far the brightest spots of color.
Last night, I almost stepped on the porcupine—it could barely walk. This morning, on the cherry tree beside the porch, bright yellow wounds.
Gray sky at sunrise. The porcupine is late; I watch it coming from a long way off. It pauses to chew on the porch—no taste like home!
Barely audible over the stream: claws on bark, slow footsteps. A porcupine’s round shadow crosses the yard and squeezes under the porch.
Distant sound of a rasp on wood: the porcupine’s last meal of the night. In the springhouse lawn, the silhouette of a cat taking a shit.