Dreams I have in fever…
The face of a fox, crafted from hardened leather,
dyed yellow and red, whiskers delicately painted.
It is surprisingly heavy, thick, vivid in my fingers.
The ribbon is brown silk, matching my hair.
Tied, it vanishes in waves and soft folds of darkness.
The sockets are perfect,
touching my flesh so that the eyes
I thought I owned reveal themselves
as borrowed passage, paid in blink, in REM,
to the other, real, world.
Sometimes a mask is more true
than the thing that it covers.
A match more appropriate
to the creature in the depths,
the pulse heard beneath
a hard crust of snow.
These eyes, this unvarnished hunger,
reminds me of buried things
both witnessed and read.
A vixen on the hunt,
flesh and blood steaming holes
in a white wash above the arctic circle.
Snow covers everything like gesso,
the canvas only ever seeming blank.
Her movements are fluid, more sure than the world.
Her wet nostrils twitch, somehow unfrozen,
to catch the living scent.
The narrative voice couldn’t tell me
why she aligns herself this way,
her body falling to crouch, teeth aimed-
every time- at magnetic North.
She feels the thrum of blood
beneath the snow-crust, a life
lived unseen to pluck from the earth.
Her lips twitch back in pleasure,
the shared grin of bitches.
In a flicker of an eyelid,
compressed tension relaxed,
she dives beneath the cover of the world.
A black hole, made like her children
with the heat, the force of her body,
stares up from the cold.
Abyss, dark and beautiful,
calling out to the nothingness of white.
The death wish, the plummet,
drawing me with her.
More time passes, filled
with the questions, the terror,
of waking before she emerges,
claws scraping, her fur smoking the air,
triumphant with her mouth full of blood
and the sacred matter of the unbroken heart.