Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine

A Reason for Being 
Linda McCullough Moore

The book of Job says God made

the leviathan: sea monster/Egyptian snorting,

sneezing crocodile; the next day, the behemoth:

rapacious, bones tubes of bronze, limbs bars of iron,

grass-eating for all that. He made the two for sport.

Fine. I have no problem with that. So long as they

stay out of my backyard now commandeered

by a nameless groundhog (whom I will no doubt

at some point need to christen) one who barrels

cross the lawn headlong at the house as though

he's late for some appointment.

Job is silent on the reason for the groundhog.

The divine raison d'etre. We do so love to think

we each one are for a reason.

I took him for a beaver at first meeting, but then,

absent paddle tail, thought not. He is enormous,

did I say? A roly-poly cannonball, first cousin,

twice removed of squirrel, answers to woodchuck,

also whistlepig.

My neighbor, who was there when God created

groundhogs, tells me they hate most people

– most? He says a sprinkling of old shoes, used

clothing sprinkled round will repel, also look like

hell, I'm thinking. He says Double Bubble gum

attracts them to their undoing. “Use lime to burn

their feet,” and I see green Jello, key lime, the pie,

lime rickeys poured on little woodchuck toes. Ah no,

it’s powder all the grass around with calcium carbonate.

I’ve no need to murder, or not him. But I did read we prefer

acquaintanceship to friendship. Less costly, fewer irritations.

There is a little town in Pennsylvania not twenty

miles from where I lived (for far too long) a town

far better-suited I am thinking to any thoughts

this creature might be entertaining of one day gaining

popularity, contentment, gnawing on some welcome mat.

I’ll pack a lunch for him. MapQuest woodland traffic

patterns in July. Wish him Godspeed. He was, after all,

God’s idea. I won't pretend to know what God

was thinking on the day of his creation.

Behemoths make more sense, taken altogether.

A person knows where he is with a leviathan.