Unravelling and weaving, sometimes simultaneously

The Fox Dream

From the edge of the woods
an old fox limped
towards me
russet fur matted with burrs
one eye
half closed

He was ready to die
and we both knew it

Our gaze met
and he raised his chin
the old reticence
for human company
burned away
by the bravery of
impending demise

‘Hello, friend’
I hunkered down
to make myself small
but he was past fear
and went to his belly
his front paws
just touching
my knees

We sat a moment
while he caught his breath
his chest bellowing
beneath his unkempt fur

When he looked up
his eyes were like honey
deep and golden
striations surrounding
a beautiful abyss
fogged with pain
and resignation

I felt the tears
I did not know were coming
slide down my cheeks
as I carefully
reached down to cup his head
between my palms

My heart swelled
something my mind
could not
or would not

With one deep
shuddering exhale
he let go
relaxing into my hands
and his beautiful eyes
slid closed
he licked his dry black nose
and offered the rigor
of a smile
more like a grimace
of submission
and I leaned forward
touching my forehead
to his

And so we sat
following each other’s breaths
in the damp early morning
simply waiting
for the right moment
knowing it was imminent
yet still not knowing

I could almost sense
the slow creep of stillness
rising from the earth
to fill his limbs
before the quiet instant
between one breath
and the next
that I realized
I was the only one

(c) RCGA 2015


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