Fox Love by gillian harding-russell

Poem title: Fox Love Poet name: gillian harding-russell Poem begins: The chickens not laying all through Christmas and the grainy snow diamond-hard in the whip of wind cold cold steaming up in a mouth-balloon as if saying, well... a cloud of burrr...as I tromped through in my heavy boots, the chickens hunkering  down in the straw with the icy air let in...  then a damp white blanket dumped in February, and the fox broke in – the lab  Maverick chasing him away not before two  necks chewed and a third bird left flapping a useless wing, one eye looking up...  Accusation...  but what can you do? Fox red as Satan, haven’t you  seen him with his dainty black feet and particular  pointed nose out there in the white field?  His head aslant listening for mouse patter inside passages under the snow crust, a discrepancy between his slanted eyes  to catch the distance against the magnetic north –  he often faces north, it’s the thing to do –   even if you don’t know  all the reasons. Like facing north to write a poem  or to choreograph a dance, with gesticulation, before an audience; but you’re wrong about the fox: Fox hurls the field mouse or vole into the air, not as an accessory to his nimble dance  and prance but so as not to get his nose bit   before the critter loses its wits. His mate patient under  the overhang of the ancient willow’s roots waits  down by the ice-slowed river, her ears perked for  radar of what’s going on at a whisker’s length of frost while her tongue’s busy laving their two kits, sharp nosed  ruddy fuzzy balls same as herself. End of poem.  Credits: Copyright © gillian harding-russell First published in Freefall Vol XXVIII Number 2 (2018). gillian harding-russell has five poetry collections published, most recently Uninterrupted (Ekstasis Editions, 2020), and a short chapbook Megrim (The Alfred Gustav, 2021). Her previous collection In Another Air (Radiant Press, 2018) was shortlisted for a City of Regina Award. Her poems have been short-listed three times for Exile’s Gwendolyn MacEwen chapbook competition, and in 2016 won first place for the sequence Making Sense. gillianharding-russell.ca