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The Fox Den

BY SHELLEY WHITAKER

Recipient of the 2013 Adroit Prize for Poetry
Judge: Garth Greenwell

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As a kid on Spring evenings
while junebugs  hooked their legs
into every drop of water and lassos
of grey moths sliced the air,
I would sit mid-driveway
waiting for a family of fox pups
to emerge from their hole in the earth
beside our house. Every May evening
they were born from red straw beds
of those woods; sharp-eyed, black-chinned
creatures burning behind the trees
like apparitions of the sunset.

I would always rise too quickly,
plastic zippers buzzing, shoelace
slapping concrete, scaring them
underground again.  It knocked
the heart out of me to send something
back into blackness, to think a necklace
of sun-hungry dogs was snaking its way
back towards the center of the world,
all because I shuddered, all because
I thought I heard the wind call
my name, and rushed to meet it.

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Shelley Whitaker is an undergraduate student at Hollins University originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. Her poetry has appeared in Punchnel's, and "The Fox Den" subsequently appeared on Verse Daily.