Porcupine by Christopher Locke


April 10, 2013 by northerncardinalreview

We trained
the headlights against its prehistoric,
nubbled shape and waited for it to cross
the road, rain a misery of  forgive me down
our windshield, me still unsure who needed
absolution: us or some recent past.

Almost there,
lumbering yet cautious, blue recycling
bin tipped empty on its side, wind
ringing the chokeberry in the adjacent
yard of a neighbor we haven’t met,
three weeks since moving here to Maine;
long parchments of seaweed line our shore
like maps discerning where we’ve been,
where we hope never to return.

The porcupine
finally passed, and when my daughter
wondered out loud if something helped
guide it, I imagined a mouse as crossing
guard, small sign gripped in his hand,
one of those bright orange vests made
by someone who loves him, who needs
the world to see him clearly in this rain.

Christopher Locke’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Southwest Review; Poetry East; Arc Poetry Magazine, (Canada); Adbusters; 32 Poems; Alimentum; RATTLE; Atlanta Review; The Sun; and Agenda, (London), among others. Chris has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, New Hampshire Council on the Arts, and Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain). His first full-length collection of poems, End of American Magic, is currently available from Salmon Poetry. Waiting for Grace and Other Poems (Turning Point Books) and the memoir Can I Say (Kattywompus Press) are both forthcoming in 2013. He currently lives in Maine with his family.

3 thoughts on “Porcupine by Christopher Locke

  1. Ron. says:

    Great images, esp the seaweed mapmargins and the crossingguard mouse.

  2. Debby says:

    I was drawn into the scene almost immediately. “A misery of forgive me….” I think that’s my favorite. Christopher, your silver tongue slices to the quick.

  3. Chris says:

    Thank you both for the kind words! –C

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