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.