T. G. Vanini
The red fox shivers as she slips across the lawn.
No-one’s there to see her, or so she hopes.
No-one’s there to see her but the lumbering porcupine
who pauses to note the quick light steps,
then dawdles on, unimpressed
by any flash of grace or show of skill
that serves no need now. He’ll save his finesse
for dealing with fear and for finding a meal
and for his prickly lover who’s prowling the thickets
of deep silence at the roots of his eyes
but who’ll never discover his cache of secrets
no matter how long or how hard she tries.
And now he reaches the red-berried thorn bush
where the wild woods meet the mown lawn.
He dips and snuffles his nose to acknowledge
the mute brotherhood of the spine.
The porcupine lives on Bee Tree Hill;
he’s heading there now and thrusts into the woods.
The dull but still green leaves of the mountain laurel
will close behind him as the daylight fades
and the cold burns the eyes of the red fox.
She’s grinning now as well as shivering
because her teeth are a clamp for a grey mouse.
She’s bringing it home to her children.