Chris Lynch: “Fox Dreaming”

Fox Dreaming

One morning, delivering Quest
News to the suburbs, I saw a red fox

Crossing the road. At least, I think

So. The animal trots quick
And furtive through morning
Mist, leaves a memory as blurry
As bunyip. I didn’t know

It was to be hated. I was new here,
Took it for a native, a messenger
Of the wild. Later, I learned better:

The fox is feral, an aristocratic
Killer from the old country, best

Poisoned or shot, forgotten. It
Kills the small marsupials
Of the land on which our cities

Foundered. The fox must go home,
Or pay for what its done. Truth
Is, though, we can’t save them all—

Not without giving up

Our cats & dogs, and who
Would shoot them? The foxes,
Like the rabbits & the canetoads,
Can’t go back. So sometimes

I call up the faint memory
Of my childhood fox, darting

Through suburbia, and
Change the story. The red fox
Pauses in its pre-dawn dash, flashes

Me a vulpine grin, and says:

“The city is an ark, boy, and we
Are convicts in its belly. Thieves
And murderers all of us. Go: eat,
Breed, flourish. And remember:

London has ten thousand foxes,
And in every land a city is an ark
For the foxes & the weeds.” 

“Yes, but—” I start to reply,
But he’s already off & racing
As if he’s late for work.
Rats won’t eat themselves.

I ride my BMX into the fog, feeling
Like I’ve missed something—

The news in my hand like a torch.