by Sonya Taaffe

The way of foxes with history
is the way of teeth with bone,
chewing experience into evidence
as ghosts steal into a photograph.
The fox sends letters,
rolled like gimbap in laver
as black and shining as a fox's nose.
The fox catalogues a library,
tied with cords of amber and nephrite
as neatly whisking as a fox's brush.
The fox in cold forests
of larches and lake-blue sky
marries a one-eyed tomcat,
almost as great a trickster as herself.
The fox of Whitechapel
leads all his lovers home
down the moon's broad road,
skull-stark at the end of the street.
The fox dyes his hair in the kitchen sink
and dances all night to drumming,
scarlet as Inari's flickering paths.
The fox wakes on a student's couch,
the poems she fell asleep reading
strewn like maple leaves across her chest.
The fox is eating hearts, rice, that sandwich
you thought you made yourself for breakfast,
the sullen punk at the bus stop
and the elegant professor on the bullet train
showing their white, white teeth as they smile
and slip into something more casual, like a life.


Sonya Taaffe's short fiction and poetry can be found in the collections Ghost Signs (Aqueduct Press), A Mayse-Bikhl (Papaveria Press), Postcards from the Province of Hyphens (Prime Books), and Singing Innocence and Experience (Prime Books), and in anthologies including Aliens: Recent Encounters, Beyond Binary: Genderqueer and Sexually Fluid Speculative Fiction, The Moment of Change: An Anthology of Feminist Speculative Poetry, People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror, The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase, and The Best of Not One of Us. She is currently senior poetry editor at Strange Horizons; she holds master's degrees in Classics from Brandeis and Yale and once named a Kuiper belt object. She lives in Somerville with her husband and two cats.

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