A foot and a half thick at breast height
this “over-mature” poplar’s
soon to topple into forest floor.
From seven stories up a porcupine

has dropped a ring of chopped branchlets
around the base, their tender twigs snibbed off.
Tonight the porcupine could feast, or a fisher
circling, dodging the murderous tail, could tear

its face till bloody and blind it faints and dies.
I’ll have it easy, my death
undramatic, at some expense my body
swiftly tidied away.

Or to end by this beaver pond:
no food, no drink; in a few days I’d be gone.
The fisher could eat what flesh there was
and the porcupine chew the bones for calcium.

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