Home > Poetry > Self-Portrait as Porcupine
Published: Fri Apr 15 2005
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Self-Portrait as Porcupine

Out walking, the dog
darts off into the woods,
comes back barbed
as St. Sebastian came back,
arrows riddling his body.
The answer, this time,
is in the unspinning:
arrows re-quivering,
the saint unsainting,
the dog unhurt in reverse.
Even language
dumbs down, and you
go back the way
you came, know less
and less with every step,
as snow snaps back
to the sky, as the stream
retracts its debacle.

You really let yourself go,
settle into a waddle,
and all your quills,
all your big words,
withdraw, become
so small, so close
to your chest,
that soon
they are points
you never made.

See what's inside AGNI 61

Rebecca Hoogs’s chapbook, Grenade, was published by Green Tower Press in 2005. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Zyzzyva, AGNIThe Florida Review, MARGIE, Seneca Review, and elsewhere. She has been a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony and lives in Seattle.

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