Slick calling card on the walkway,
not ropy with fur like coyote scat,
but as if to say Don’t tread on me.
Not halfway through February
I’d seen the fox three times, first
stalking a great blue heron
that waded the river, that wielded
its bill like a pike-blade on its long neck,
that could open a fox like an egg.
Then noonish, where the river
has broken through, it crossed the ice
long-legged that second time,
so I wondered if someone
had started in with bologna slices
again, thus its brassy coat
and the white trim around its ears.
A third morning, making notes
about it at the kitchen table,
I spotted it scratching at
the garden snow, as though something
extrasensory had begun. Deposits
here and there on the walkway
as the spring assembled
itself, and this morning at ten
fox came down among the butterfly
bushes and sipped from the garden pond
so I feared for the little bug-eyed frogs
who look up at me sometimes
from that water as if in supplication,
and might mistake this fox for the sun.