It’s usually when nothing much stirs
the mind from the featureless grey of night,
no wind, no moonlight, trees on silent watch,
an aimlessness disguised by the road
ahead, familiar, pot-holed, unpeopled.
Then, in the headlights, the fox glances up,
indifferent, on its own search, at home.
Red eyes burn through the paper-thin veneer
that shelters us from bared teeth and clenched claw,
before vanishing into memory,
hiding in night sweats, where hope lurks unseen.
We think of snarl, of jaws tasting blood,
of rugged rampant copulation
as the red fur pushes through the hawthorn
and takes hold of a wild freedom on fields
harvested to dry brush. For a moment,
the burden of consequence is lifted.