Gray Fox

All morning I’ve watched the snow fly,
looking up from a page of the same color.
Sometimes wind will rattle the shutters,
creak the joists and rafters
as if the house were talking to itself.

My window frames a white emptiness
until suddenly, as if conjured, he’s there
maybe twenty feet from the glass
with a limp rabbit, long hind legs
dangling from his jaws.

At home here
before our house was built,
this gray has apparently decided to stay.
Though at a holiday fish fry,
our wined-up neighbor mumbled
about abnormal behavior, rabies,
12-gauge buckshot the cure.

Last week, luckily downwind,
on a path that edges the salt swamp,
I watched him inch through eelgrass
then leap high
into a twisting dive on a vole—footage
I’ve been playing since,
but wanting to see him again
and here he is, looking like a Wyeth,
drawn to answer some need.

He stares right at me
but does he know what I am?
A man either bored
or afraid of the empty white hours
that make me grateful
for shape and color,
something animate to attach to—
a sharp wise face,
ears cocked and aimed, rusty flanks,
and a black-tipped tail
that triggers much more than delight.