...Skinned feet over the sand, the sticks, the sharpstones. Girl guides her. This way.
Touch of small hand on raw arm, forest carves into flesh of feet. Pain almost obliterates
Sometimes it’s quiet and she thinks
look how beautiful my fur my skin as it falls sometimes catching the light
because the light through everything looks better
because the light is where my fur my skin catches color and turns and changes as it falls even as it is dying
and that is the beauty of every great thing: to fall into color and die
It is the time of counting one moment one moment one
It is not possible to sit or lie down
toes curling from floor
shoulders stiff to spine
ribs tight to breath
for hours for hoursfor for for for
the back sags neck jolts up
weak wet tread around the room
Sometimes it's quiet and she thinks, my-fur my-skin falling, catching the light
Because light is where my-fur my-skin colors and turns and changes even as it is dying
That is the beauty of every great thing: to fall into color and die
lifts a hand to her mouth,
--Oh, but you are beautiful
word that means and unmeans and leans cheek and stem against the throat
warmth rising in the body
She doesn't understand that burning doesn't end with one thing...
She can hear them, Burn it all!
Ears flinch under the high, excited voices. The laughter is like screaming. All their feelings run together. Now they have pleasure, but that will only last until the shed is gone. what will they burn next?
There is nowhere for you and you are alone. It hurts to stand and to sit and to lie down! I Know.
It is the time of almost. Today it is morning
something is moving up
a peeling back
a rise-humming of light
To be alive and safe in a body
Girl is back. She shivers in her small shirt. thin arms with bones like the knots on small branches, and blossoming with red and purple and yellow flowers.
Fox blinks wet eyes, sees someone looking back: a face, no fur, small ears, small jaw. Silver scar-ropes loop and loop her. Luminous
--This is you...
...the white-fire face.
Fox snarls: the fragment gives back a smile
--You are beautiful. You are.
Bright fragment trembles, edges firing light
cannot contain the blazing face
soft and new-tender
Pain: how everything connects, disconnects.
The breeze hurries and hangs dark charcoal and smoke. Her shed skin shriveling black and small like dead insects. Nothing is left of Otherself.
Girl is behind her,
--They will kill me, too.
Fox turns an ear towards her: they would kill one of their own?
The Shedding Fox
lives in a shed and sheds
She cannot stop the shedding so it is better and warmer to be here in the dull sweet-wood room among the thin-pale layerings of her-fur her-skin
when does the day grow tired
when does the angry red sun weep itself to sleep
when does the night chill come down
Fox moves her eyes carefully so the corners do not rip
And sometimes she stands at the window and hurls her scream to the bland moon, that colorless junkie.
There was a time when the sun chased her, long fingers striping her black and red and gold between the shadows, and when she slipped through the night like a fever and nothing was faster than her feet nothing was wider than her gaze beyond and beyond and the thrill of the fastcatch and the bitingdown through the bloodmeat and the taste of thetasteofthetasteof
the air and the smell and the green and the water that ran fast the water that ran
from the rocks pummeling down against the strong legs against the rocks against the quick feet jumping as high as the white water that she snapped between quick jaws
lapping at the blue flowers by the edge of the water at the green at the edge of the water
and further along where the water was quiet, after cleaning her thick fur, the sunpool on the leaves where she lay to sleep
The girl is gone
Was she here? Someone brought the bowl. It has the girl’s jacket. Was the girl wearing a jacket?
The bowl is here
It has water
The Fox inhales
She leans down to the bowl
She and the window stare at each other
Into half night and into dull night
and into arc night and into weight night
and into unshape and untime
The window excels at staring games