It had been three years since I had met my last splinter when a late spring drove hungry animals out of the wilds towards the town in search of food. Among them was a family of porcupines. The female got caught in one of my traps and I set her free, but not before I felt the pull of one of her babies. He was tiny and pink, his quills still growing, and I stroked him without thinking. My soul expanded and he was imprinted across the back of my right hand. In me, his spikiness has a home.