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  • The porcupine quill hill
    hunkers down on the cold bedrock earth,
    spraying its pointed pines
    and shaking off snow.

    The flakes from last week's storm,
    crusty and freezerburned,
    swarm

    riding the wind

    up
           and over
                           and down

    to the underbelly valley --

    the very place a telephone pole spear
    would land with
    a thud.

    Or where the excavating claw
    would stab, grab and
    d          r         a         g,
    splaying open a million years of ecosystem
    in a minute and a half.

    Last month the paper read:

    "Wounds in Wyoming!"
    "Red Dirt, Flayed Earth, Strip Mines Skin the Mountain!"
    "A Buffalo Carcass Steams in High Noon Heat!
    This thief
    takes only what he wants,
    the rest he leaves
    to rot.

    The sun is a searchlight
    swiveling around
    again and again.

    Combing for a criminal impossible to find
    because he is all of us,
    combined.


    2.

    The porcupine quill hill
    arcs its back
    against attack,
    scrapes the sky with spiked pines,
    pricks the spinning-wheel clouds
    as they pass
    on a whistle of wind.

    Speckled shadows splash
    on the wild underbelly grass
    where I so very much would like to lie with you
    and eat fruit from your navel.
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