Kin With the Foxes

jeanne's_watercolors-2001-foxes copy

illustration by Jeanne Poland


The wall of cold descends

by Marge Piercy

Near the end of our annual solstice party
as guests were rummaging through the pile
for their coats and hugging many goodbyes
the very first snow of the year began
to eddy down in big flat flakes.

It was cold enough to stick, with the grass
poking through and then buried.
Now the ground gives it back
under the low ruddy sun that sits
on the boughs of the pine like a fox

if red foxes could climb. The cats
crowd the windows for its touch.
The Wolf Moon seemed bigger than
the sun, almost brighter as last night
it turned the snow ghostly.

Now it too wanes. The nub end
of the year when all northern
cultures celebrate fire and light.
Tonight we’ll take the first two candles
to kindle one from the other.

When we go out after dark, our
eyes seek lights that bore holes
in the thick black like the pelt
of a huge hairy monster, a grizzly
who devours the warm-blooded.

We are kin with the birds who huddle
in evergreens, who crowd feeders,
kin with the foxes and their prey, kin
with all who shiver this night, homeless
or housed, clutching or alone

under the vast high dome of night.

“The wall of cold descends” by Marge Piercy from Made in Detroit. © Knopf, 2015.

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