Porcupine at Dusk
by Ingrid Wendt
Out of the bunch grass
out of the cheat grass
a bunch of grass waddles
Quill-tips bleached by winter four
inches down: crown of glory dark
at the roots: a halo
catching the sun's
No way could such steady
oblivion possibly live
up to legend, whatever
fear I might have had
is gone, but still I stop
Short on my after-dinner walk, no
collision course if I
can help it, thinking
at first it's the wind,
nudging a path out of the field
Or one of a covey of tumbleweed
lost like those today on the freeway,
racing ahead of my car that whole long drive
here to the banks of the Snake, to friends
so close they know
when to leave me alone.
As though I were nowhere around, the porcupine
shuffles the edge of the road,
in five minutes crosses
a distance I could have covered
in less than one
And disappears at last into cattails
and rushes, sunset, a vespers
of waterbirds, leaving me
still unwilling to move.
I am a sucker for scenes like this.
The slowest beauty can rush me.
And here I am,
all of my defenses down.
please note: photo by Sheila Skogen