Gardner McFall

My Groundhog
June 21, 2019 McFall Gardner

My Groundhog
I had a groundhog in my back yard.

It ate my lilies and the grass leaving a platter of dirt

in their place. A wildlife trapper I called caught and carted it

away. He sent me a picture of my groundhog bravely

striding into the forest of its new life, tail high in the air,

bristly like a brush, indicating it was frightened,

and instantly I missed my groundhog and wanted him back,

even if it meant the decimation of all my pretty garden.


I am perverse in wishing this, in longing for the return

of a rodent that bothered me, and sentimental, too,

because, really, no one likes groundhogs. Miles from home,

in another life, my room looks out on a groundhog burrow.

I left a carrot stick by the burrow door, a small gift,

which just now, I saw between the groundhog’s two front paws.

He was standing up, warily looking around,

uncertain and confused about what would happen next.

Gardner McFall is the author of two poetry books and an opera libretto. Her poems have recently appeared in The New Republic, Bellevue Literary Journal, The Hopkins Review, and Barrow Street, and are included in Norton’s 2017 anthology Inheriting the War: Poetry and Prose by Descendants of Vietnam Veterans and Refugees, edited by Laren McClung. Her chapbook, On the Line, is just out from Finishing Line Press.