Waiting for foxes by Rachel R. Baum

Waiting for foxes

You tried not to kill any fish today.

       Then the vortex blasted the waves grey blue
       Layered with fault, their edges sharp and white foamed

The pebbled shore is respite from the wild water

       You wait there, though foxes hide in the brush.
       Once, one crossed the road, a sleek orange blur.

Not the sweet eared, red gold creature,

       Plush toyed into pretty rhyming books,
       Sharing tea with soft lipped llamas.

Consider the safety of your fragile boat on the ragged lake,

       Or perching warily on this narrow beach,
       Watched by foxes not seen in a child’s story or shelf

Though there is danger in the light,

       Fear hides in the crevices of the dark,
       Because the animal is everywhere and nowhere.

Defy nature to slip ungracefully through the maelstrom,

       Find a tenuous landing among the slippery boulders,
       And the bumpy hides of next year’s frogs.

Extract the hooks with care, feed the fish back to their source.

       Then plunge the paddle into the surface.
       There is no forgiveness for the murderer of fish.


Rachel R. Baum writes poetry and fishes for bass. She is the editor of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999) which is not as morose as it sounds. She lives in upstate New York with her dog Tennyson.