If you hold yourself still, the fox
will always come to you. She moves
silent through dusk, across sudden lawn,
a natural gap between bush and cliff.
She is wary, ears up, nose alert. She skips
lightly, pauses to flick her tail, then
disappears, streak of red and black.
There’s a waterfall, bitter, cold, she sips
when night pauses; a deep water seep
from between rocks that remember dinosaurs
and birth-cries of lost volcanoes, gone
before this beach, this river were here.
An owl calls, very close overhead, between
meadow and shore, moving towards beach;
fox freezes, her tail and belly low-slung to soil,
red blur blending into dusk-toned fireweed,
and waits for owl to pass. If you can shape
yourself into stone, slow-breathing juniper,
your palm cupped to hold rain, and be silent
for endless days, the fox will come to you, sip
cold water, lap your lifeline. Don’t look at her
direct, be a peripheral vision of your own self,
flicker of red and black in lung, heart, artery;
and she will come, tentative, hesitant, but
curious. Become moss, become invisible,
become as ancient as the dreams of cliffs.
If you hold yourself still, the fox will come.
Arthur Durkee, USA