hedgehog by donna pucciani

Two Poems by Donna Pucciani

Hedgehog

Hedgehog
.
I’ve seen a real hedgehog only once,
while coming home from the pub.
We’d pulled into the driveway,
and there, in the headlights,
a small, sculptured roly-poly
prickled and stared, breathing
its own Zodiac sign into our mutual
portion of dark.
.
It had waddled right out
of an English storybook
with small woodland creatures
to scatter its magic in the moonless
garden of elves and trolls,
.
daring me to become a child again,
to enter a world of spider webs, berries,
and a mythology of hidden gold
in a forest where indecipherable mammals
chatter among themselves in strange tongues.
.
Turning its pointed snout
towards the car, it met my eyes
in a brief moment of quasi-recognition
before rustling back into the wild
geraniums, leaving the rhubarb
sleeping alongside the garage,
quivering.
.
Another Country
.
I am once again in a foreign country.
Clipped Anglo-Saxon is spoken here,
motorway traffic reversed, pubs
pull pints for the locals.
.
The villages are the same,
yet marked by plague,
like Eyam’s doors, where
centuries ago, “x” chalked
on a cottage door meant malady,
where a virus took half the village,
sequestered as they were.
.
The Vicar’s wife still haunts
the belfry of the parish church,
where death records now lie,
dusty and mildewed, but still
legible, in a book nobody
wants to read.
.
But for me, this is homecoming
after several years, I who need
brothers and sisters and cousins,
boiled vegetables, seas of roadside
daffodils, birdsong falling like rain,
hillsides glowing neon green.
.
The chimney swifts speak
the language of larks, and nightingales
answer in the deepening dusk.
Say your prayers.  Ask to die like this,
a blackbird asleep among the stars,
as the sun breathes its last among the rills,
and the moon comes out to find me.
.
donna
Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry in Shi Chao Poetry, Agenda, Meniscus, ParisLitUp, Poetry Salzburg, The Pedestal, and other journals. Her seventh and most recent book of poetry is EDGES.

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