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Dog Days

by John Stocks

We dampened the walls for hours
And sat beneath a sultry moon
To watch the bats and wait for stars
As Russians do on Christmas Eve
For auguries of greater light.

Too snug for sleep, I lay awake
And watched the candles flicker
The regular rattle of trains
As they trembled through the valley,
Tainted the insouciant charm.

It was then that I saw the fox
Sloping home on ancient legs,
Head cocked towards the plough,
One foot in the grave, I guessed,
Ominously dull-eyed, mangy.

It was death. Stark, adagio
Death stepping between the roses,
Feral and savagely indiscrete
In vulnerable resonance,
A blurred violation.

When we returned from holiday
The neighbors were pulling up drains
And phoning the local council.

We found him harvested by flies,
The antithesis of summer,
Rose petals resting on his corpse.

Copyright © 2008 by John Stocks

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