B.A. France


Moon of Musashi by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi

Suddenly she is there.  One moment the paved blackness was empty, then the shrewd fox is in the middle of it, looking back at me.  A momentary tip of the head.  Acknowledgment.  Her low body and red hair sleek along the ground as she stares for the briefest moment to see if I’m moving.  But I’m not.  I’m frozen still as if I was that young cottontail in the grass, thinking a lack of movement is safety.  Her ears stand at attention.  I expect her to be gone as instantly as she appeared, slipping through the weeds and tiger lilies on the side of the looping wooded lane, disappearing into the thicket of undergrowth and fallen limbs from the recent thunderstorms, back toward the creek in search of a meal.  But she isn’t.  Instead, she pivots with such grace that her direction confuses me, and then she is headed away, in the middle of the lane.  She saunters breezily, showing the world that her trot is anything but a dance, as if the long blacktop which curves out of sight is there not for human transportation and the noisy, malodorous pickup trucks, but instead is conveniently added to simplify her evening patrol.  Then, effortlessly, she shoots me another glance.  I am still motionless and her look alone speaks, reminding me that she is the main character in the drama of this wood and I am still but a bit player, maybe just an extra.

She trots on.

mourning dove
calls in the warm silence
               hovering clouds


About the writer:
B.A. France is a poet and writer who lives in Chesapeake Bay watershed and whose poetry has appeared in Akistu Quarterly and cattails.

Image: Moon of Musashi by Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892). Colorwoodcut: lineblock with color blocks on paper. 12.99 x 9.52 inches. 1891. Public domain.