A Scrawny Fox

David Bottoms Click to

bottomsA graduate of Mercer University with a Ph.D. from Florida State, David Bottoms currently serves as the John B. and Elena Diaz-Amos Distinguished Chair in English Letters at Georgia State University.  His many awards include a Guggenheim, an Ingram Merrill Award, the Walt Whitman Award.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Poetry and many other journals, as well as his collections, including Under the Vulture Tree, Armored Hearts: New and Selected Poems, Vagrant Grace, We Almost Disappear and others.  His two novels are Any Cold Jordan and Easter Weekend.

Near the end, only one thing matters.

Yes, it has something to do with the moon and the way
the moon balances nervously

on the rooftops of neighborhood houses. You remember the landscape
of your childhood, your house and yard

the yards and houses of your friends.  Near the end, though,
only one thing matters.

Maybe there was a wood where you played,
and that wood is gone now, paved over for parking cars.

At night, before sleep, it comes to you again —
your longing for the wilderness, the fox you saw last week

at the end of your cul-de-sac.  Maybe you put out dog chow
and wait at night, on the back porch.

Maybe you tire and close your eyes.  Things happen
when you close your eyes — an owl leaves a branch trembling,

the dog food disappears.  You’d love to see that fox again.
Near the end, though, only one thing matters,

and nothing, not even the fox, moves as quietly.