Fox

Fox

I needed fox Badly I needed
a vixen for the long time none had come near me
I needed recognition from a
triangulated face burnt-yellow eyes
fronting the long body the fierce and sacrificial tail
I needed history of fox briars of legend it was said she had run through
I was in want of fox

And the truth of briars she had to have run through
I craved to feel on her pelt if my hands could even slide
past or her body slide between them sharp truth distressing surfaces of fur
lacerated skin calling legend to account
a vixen's courage in vixen terms

For a human animal to call for help
on another animal
is the most riven the most revolted cry on earth
come a long way down
Go back far enough it means tearing and torn endless and sudden
back far enough it blurts
into the birth-yell of the yet-to-be human child
pushed out of a female the yet-to-be woman

1998


from Fox (W. W. Norton & Company, 2001), copyright © Adrienne Rich 2001, used by permission of the author