Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Grey Fox is Dead

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser


A head without eyes.
Somewhere a body,
without a head.

Or, maybe it is all in pieces.
Or, devoured.

I look at the still-intact nose, wet,
not from life, but settled dew.
A torn ear encircled by muddied
tufts of fur – red and grey and thick and coarse.
The long, narrow shape of the muzzle yet
covered in a taunt canvass of skin.

A grey fox is dead.

But not long dead.

As morning breaks the tiny undertakers are
just beginning to arrive –
various flies and a bald-faced hornet
saunter in and out of dark, empty sockets.

At some point during the day,
while I am elsewhere doing less important things,
the fat, black, flat-headed carrion beetles
will investigate,
hopeful for adequate carnage.

They will be disappointed,
and leave,

knowing nothing comes to them.


But what interests me now is the soul.

It is not here.

I know these things.

I have spent my entire life in search of my own.


Several years ago, a mother goat died while lying
against my knee caps, her screaming week-old twins
flanking my sides.

We, the three of us, watched her sag as the last in-breath,
realizing it wasn’t going to be needed,
found its way back out.

I thought, now peace.

But then!

Her body suddenly shifted, up and down, a violent
rise and fall measured in scant centimeters.

The twins: silent, steady, in unison,
raised their heads skyward, incrementally, until they were
staring into the heavens above,
necks outstretched, focused,

I knew, then, what I had seen,

And, I would see it again.

And, I have.


But, I was too late for the fox.

It arose while I slept in the holler below.

I wonder if it looked down and
saw the coyote there.

I wonder what I might see on that day.

© 2013-2016/Jamie K. Reaser
From 'Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)

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