The Night Fox

Only a ripple under the wind,
An invisible scent with eyes like green coals,
I will not suffer to fettered by the bracken's catch
Or limned by dusk against the sky
Nor will my bark but cry by echo.

I am legend, I am the devil,
Grendel in the Hall of the Atheling hens
I am awesome in the tales of the bardic thrushes.
Night will follow where I go.
A grin in the grass, a quiver of fern,
A twitch of the blood, a shadow
Snapped in feathers.

I am not clean but I have learned from scratch
A neat anatomy of hunger.
To split the belly of a meal is Art,
Its ribs are the clasp of a starveling's hands,
Its heart pleads like a locket
To be let within my pallisade of teeth
And find fulfiment of its purpose there.

The gates are wide, my house is open
To the needy.

Watchman, I, and warden of my teeth.
They are the finest points of law, owing nothing
To shibboleths. To them my tongue
Does not neglect its orisons. A hundred moons
Are polished in my mouth and shine my paws,
Rain-pools pick out two more for my princely eyes
When I am fed and stately.

There is another, nightly,
Trots to my trot, stops to my stopping,
Spins to no whim that is not mine. When I wink up
She wags and grins, will roost when I tire.
But monthly she will squint at the sniff of carrion,
Covet my leavings. Then I must lie
Lightly upon sleep, listening alone
To blood and the omniverous earth
Beating, and beating.