Christopher Locke, "Fox Luck"

Humidity surprises the Adirondacks,

undaunted though this pod of bikers

barreling past my house; a Lycra procession

bright as poisonous frogs. But me, on my

hands and knees planting tomatoes, a stupor

of basil in little green rows. I stand and brush

the soil crumpled from my jeans, squint

and wave the midges face-free. This would

normally mean one beer then two. A third

feet up and splayed on the front porch. I'd

admire the twisting sky, the way heat colors

the clouds like blood filling a syringe. Then

early evening with its strange perfumes and

flowers trembled into shadow. I'd crack

number four while searing meat, cast iron

smoking like summer pavement. Number

five around the dinner table, the usual

questions of how was your day, dad, how

was your day. The couch with number six

as my children begin their long climb to bed,

the stories I don't tell of heroes and nymphs,

a rain of stars. But instead today I chug

the garden hose, wipe my mouth. I take

a long cool shower and close my eyes.

Then a quiet porch and present dinner.

At bedtime, I skooch between my girls

and describe brave oceans, warrior crows,

a magic trumpet that forgives its player

of every wrong choice. As finale, I explain

a fox has taken to visiting our garden, and in

the coiled dark, box fan tumbling moonlight

onto the bed, I say he's merely looking

for something he's lost, the soft arrow--

head of his face gentle between

the tomatoes as he sniffs and moves,

separating dark from bush, bush from light.

Photo: Tammy Grimes, Picspree.