(This Life) Part 5: Fox binned
Garden out of bounds – builders’ mess
spreading fast this past week - we turn
left into Katherine’s rutted lane,
dogs scenting, pulling, me breathless
following, past The Rustler’s Gate,
where a blue barrel stands untapped.
Hind legs strong, straining, the dogs reach
up for the rim but, restrained, wait;
inside a fox, death curled frozen,
colours sharp, vivid frosted,
startling beauty not yet dimmed
enduring far past its last breath.
That night its cubs’ long screams wake us,
memory of her milk still warm,
and we anguished lay out dog food,
can offer nothing more, cannot
move into her hollowed space
a substitute; become we cannot.
Next day we dig, bury her deep,
wrapped in clay dark as the first star,
then a trip to N’Villes stocking up
on peanuts, meat and cheese for her kin.