On days when I am sullen, I think of them:
fox of envy, hollow fox with black punched eyes.
Skittering fox skirting the road, fingers-in-the-pie fox,
egg-stealing fox licking thin black lips to red? Pretty little doll-fox.
Fox of bad nerves and pill-fox, Scotch-fox forever coupling
with glass-fox. Fox of the lamb and fox of the knife.
Closer, fox, and I trick you into my arms: whiskers
tasting the air, extravagant tail collaring my neck, your gekkering
echoing through my empty rooms. Fox of mother’s thoughts,
I swaddle you in song and whisper into your fearful, laid-back ears:
In what wood did you leave your young. To what hunger.
Jennifer Whitaker is the author of The Blue Hour, winner of the Brittingham Prize and published from the University of Wisconsin Press (2016). Her poems have appeared in journals including Radar Poetry, New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Four Way Review. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she is Director of the University Writing Center at UNCG.
“Mother’s Foxes” originally appeared in Issue 5 of Radar Poetry, January 2015.