The Encounter

by Christine Adams Beckett

A red fox, a tod,

Regarded her for a conscious-packed moment

Lasting longer than scientific truth.

 

He stood on a meticulously constructed stone wall,

That was frosted like a cake with snow,

Red fur burning a melted image

Of a contemplative being considering

A difficult moment.

Fight or flight.  Or love?

 

The creature that stands before the animal

Has a drink in her hand,

A clear liquid that

Eerily takes the shape of

The transparent cylinder.

Perchance she will share it with him,

Who thirsts for water that flows

With movement, runs freely rather than

Solidifies in a frozen New England wood.

 

She has a look of delight on her face

As if creature’s presence is welcomed.

But she moves toward the window, a

Piece of solid air that to him offers no protection.

She is a mammal uncharacteristically

Mobile on two well developed

Hind legs. Flee!

 

He bounds toward the wood, dragging

A brush of a tail offering stability and balance

And warmth for the vixen and cubs that

Lie denned underground, a place

He will never reveal.  From a distance,

The heavy trail of fur looks burdensome.

 

Curiosity, the lure of a brief connection

Implores him to stop for

An instant, to lift his front right

Paw, a gesture recognizable to

Anyone with a domestic dog.

A point, an explanation he makes

He is sure she can hear:

 

I am enchanted by you;

But I fear you.