Groundhog, Bird, Anthill
Groundhogs chirp like sparrows
when you step too close, trying to disguise
your shape with an oversize hula hoop—
except its cry pierces, a shriek you can never answer,
even when you move closer, your throat
pinched in weak mimicry.
Some unnamed ivy,
tentacles of a leviathan, curls
up the broad oak trunk. Mayapple shoots
litter the base, and anthills,
like domed mosques, gather
each grain of dirt a stone
the smallest foot can crush.
If you tread, noiseless, your breath a hush
with the wind, maybe one foot nearer,
before the groundhog dashes back
into ivy, a place even your hand won’t reach.
- After Susan Briante
Alyse Bensel, a native of Pennsylvania, currently resides in State College, while pursuing her MFA in poetry at Penn State. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in MAYDAY Magazine, Cider Press Review, Foothill Poetry, The Meadowland Review, Evening Skyline Review, and Untitled Country Review. When not engaged in her teaching and studies, she works at non-profit art organizations and for a work-share program at a local CSA.