Tom Sexton divides his time between Alaska and Maine, spending half of every year in Eastport. His poem describes the movement of a porcupine through the twists, turns and surprises of a single sentence. Sexton writes, “I hope my short lines move as slowly as the porcupine does.” 


By Tom Sexton

Its movement on

the ground is

that of a bag

of stones rolled

downhill, a spilled

quiver of black-

tipped arrows, but

now, on this

cold March morning,

it is raising the

dark flag of itself

to the top of

an ancient tree

like an explorer

claiming the world

in the name

of all that is Porcupine.