Two women up the hiking trail
inquire for pliers I do not pack.
Friendship and enmity, it seems,
have like consequence: their dog
just got a porcupine billet-doux.
Dog paws at his jowls, then rubs
his face in the unresponsive dirt.
Not stupid, I have learned a lot
from thrust, barb, pointed remark.
But it is the second time for him,
they tell me, shaking their heads:
these young women with children
in school, husbands somewhere,
freedom and vigor for the climb;
carefree enough to laugh this off,
sure of themselves. I bet no men
would wound such women twice.