Today's poem is by Michael Symmons Roberts
Man in a Fox Suit
Thin red hide, flea-ridden, caked
in mud and cack, thorn-snagged
he limps at dawn through bare-backed
woods, neck ricked and panic rising.
Tongue is purple, marked with plum
and elder, no, his mouth is brackish,
stained with bird blood. At odds
with the wild, this double-double spy
has tried to feign a genome mapped
to brushwood, amber, carrion.
He lives in terror of the true dogs
tearing him to pieces in defence
of mate or prey, to win his ground.
Vixen screams (in season now) beleaguer
his weak heart and I, sole witness, see
him rear up as a man, unlock a house
where he will stretch out in a warm
white bed and cast his rust coat
like an old rug on the floor.
He cannot help but hear the dog fox
after him with dry staccato barks,
rattling through skeletons of trees.
Fox in a Man Suit
Masked, gloved, brush tucked flat
against her back, faint with heat
this vixen is silent at soirées,
attentive to talk of defence, the public purse.
Emissary from the wild woods, agent
from the other side, she shakes her head
at wine, at canapés, she gags on human
stench, their meat and sweat.
When taxis come, she slips through kitchens,
drops to all fours (still in black tie),
sprints along the back streets
like a feral duke until she meets the edgelands
where rubbed on the shuck of a tree
her man-skin peels off
like a calyx and the sleek red flower unfurls.
Tongue drinks in the cold,
nose down in leaf mould, deep rush and tow
of attachment, of instinct. I, the only witness,
take this for a resurrection (body sloughed
and after-life as fox-soul), so I watch
in awe and slow my breath until
she catches sight and howls and howls.
Copyright © 2008 Michael Symmons Roberts All rights reserved
from Poetry London
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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