White grass grew like hair
on the scales of the old tree.
Bent limbs bore cherries black
as amethyst glass that burned white holes
in the white grass as the sun passed.
A fox shivered against the stony roots,
sick from eating cherries,
the only food any could find that winter.
So I brought it in.
Beneath the scabs and sucking ticks
I felt a heartbeat like two beads
rattling in a glass. I fed the beast
broth drop by drop from my fingers
till it was strong enough to lift its head
and lap at a thin gruel.
A white crow tapped at the glass,
spying the eyes of the fox
shining like cherries,
like coins to be stolen–but that was the fox’s life,
and it rose in self-defense and hunger
for the unhealthy bird, which lurched away
I found the bird much later
on the grass beneath the tree,
white holes full of worms burned in its wings.
The fox sniffed the carcass while
market bells rang, which he feared
as though his pelt were luxurious.
The sound of a hunter’s gun had not been heard
in many months, but each of my heavy steps
frightened the fox.
“I nursed you,” I said. “I wouldn’t hurt you.”
Winking lights from the cherry tree
blinded me and the fox was gone.