Author Note: We have lived in this town since 1959 with 2 or more acres of property off main roads. Had dozens of cats and never a problem, although we were warned about predators. Recently, there is a fox or several and they’d pass the cats with no interest, people keep chickens. I was told this is a healthy sign as folks worried about coyotes although I never heard one. They said if “you have foxes, it’s unlikely you have a coyote problem.” We have owls and hawks and recently a bob cat was seen. We’ll never know what became of our cats, you don’t know your mistakes until you make them. The two we now have are indoor-only cats.
After Lawrence 1. Since the war started, the fox was a demon. Rippling the dark grass like a red braid, he wove his way like a barnyard tarantella. By the end of August, the light had changed, the wood-edge bled a brownish vein, the girl tasted copper. The fox, undaunted, stared the girl down. Spellbound, she lost her confidence to jam the wooden stock against her shoulder and kill him. She knew he knew her. He tasted the chicken-flesh behind her knees, his razor-ribbon fangs could peel her lips like an egg, given the chance. She wanted that chance. In death, she wanted the chance to be his entirely, to be honored as the one who gave him life. The red sun was setting. The long war flicked its tail. 2. What Makes The Fox Chase His Own Tail? The fox is a thief who circles a woman’s shoulders. His amber eyes covet the luster of pearls. In silence, he resides red on white luster. He is a mermaid’s red hair in the rain, part myth, and he swaggers brown in the sun. He slides smooth into a camisole of seaweed. He is a caboose that steals eggs after midnight. He tries to speak the words of lonely boxcars. He hears morning when the train whistle startles. He is a sly poem that borrows a thought. He creeps towards a poet’s dream. He smells his own musky hole and savors it. The fox is an hour spent with a muddy paw. He is the blood before a broken vow. He skulks fields and is hardy in the landscape of strangers. He is the first time the sun rises and parts. He is a sin to all creatures that go about their business. He tears the night with his keening. He is nobody’s business but his own. His pelt sheds elegance to mask his smudged conscience. He cannot go through the night undefined. 3. The Fox Requiem The girl went outside where suddenly she knew the fox was singing. A singing roamed the woods, in the fields and in the darkness. The fox grew from the earth, red as a candle flame. When she touched him, he bit her wrist. The fox whisked his brush across her face. It seared the girl’s mouth and she was stricken. He continued to sing. She lay trembling, a burnt out wick, silenced by the fox. 4. The Dream Fox In the year 1918, there was not much food to buy. The youth stole the dark eyes of the fox. The youth had fallen from the dark eyes of the fox. When he lifted his clouded blue-eyes, she remembered the rabbit and wild duck flying high towards the wood, that he had shot. Again, there was silence. A cunning little flame came across the youth’s face. A gleam of red fed the fine hairs on his cheeks. She put away the thought of him. He walked towards the wood’s edge with his gun. The youth had stolen the dark eyes of the fox. He was the Master of the girl. He would catch her as you catch a deer or wood cock when you go out to shoot. It became like a fate. The girl had fallen from the dark eyes of the deer. For Ariel and Sally Byro-cats, missing May 2022
©2022 Laurie Byro
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