Ground Hogs

Stuffed poison pellets in the tunnels.

We weren’t going to wait this time.

There were a lot of them; the garden’s full,

more pitted than one of Saturn’s moons.

The fellow who came to trim the trees said “gophers”,

but the timing was such

I decided that ground hogs were more likely to be the cause..

And all along it’s like an indolent infectious force:

fever that is intermittent, night sweats, dreams

without content that awaken one to a sense of anxious fear,

something, in any case, to uproot,

before it becomes virulent, like a hemorrhagic plague,

or some deep dark species-leaping African virus

for which we were so ill-prepared.

It was like the raccoons who settled beneath our attic eaves,

at first merely startling with their playful scampering.

Then, after a couple had been caught, and banished

to the woods, their wildly desolate moans

would set teeth chattering: banshees, ghosts,

some indigent stranger who had gotten trapped in one of our cages?

So what I wanted to tell you

is that I used to be a weatherman.

For a while I was on television,

and I had a column once a week in a local paper.

I would make pronouncements,

but lost my job over a disagreement,

something about a gale or a hurricane that just didn’t happen.

After that I did PR work;

but now I’m retired.

Anyway, I have this lingering resentment

of people and animals that make predictions.

Nostradamus or ground hogs.

What is the difference?

In any case, I got it all done (the poisoning, I mean)

before that February deadline.

And now I feel better.