Groundhog Capability

GROUNDHOG CAPABILITY

a female groundhog
has been living under the antiquated
outhouse
behind our home for 14 years.
just before Father’s Day,
a new litter appears in the backyard-
harmlessly
gnawing on fescue
and other overgrowth in the meadow that borders
the woodland, at the edge of our property.

at the end of the day, which I
always look forward to – hops in hand
with water flowing into the beds –
one of the new litter suddenly scurries away from
the main garden in the center of the yard,
far from the safe borders where they can
feed on low hops shoots and jewel weed-
plentiful.

the gardens are a tribute to my step-father,
who eased the pressure of being responsible for a
group that welded nuclear submarines together
by growing plants from seed.
after my mother was widowed
from melanoma and that welding burn,
she eventually had to sell our home.
a season later I found the book that was his bible-
“A Garden for All Seasons”
published by Reader’s Digest, which I thought was appropriate,
as that was the only reading material in the waiting room
in the nursing home my mother worked at.
she had to drag us there before school
in the rapid aftermath of the divorce.

we have had successes
and failures
following
the copious and the conscientious
measures of our intention.
i read online that pouring
gasoline
into the groundhog hole would rid you of
the issue.
i was quite wary of the that option.

ellery twining

the talent

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