Adrienne Rich
 

Adrienne Rich

Fox

I needed fox    Badly I needed
a vixen for the long time none had come near me
I needed recognition from a
triangulated face    burnt-yellow eyes
fronting the long body the fierce and sacrificial tail
I needed history of fox    briars of legend it was said she
   had run through
I was in want of fox

And the truth of briars she had to have run through
I craved to feel on her pelt    if my hands could even slide
past her body slide between them    sharp truth distressing
   surfaces of fur
lacerated skin calling legend to account
a vixen's courage in vixen terms

For a human animal to call for help
on another animal
is the most riven the most revolted cry on earth
come a long way down
Go back far enough it means tearing and torn    endless
   and sudden
back far enough it blurts
into the birth-yell of the yet-to-be human child
pushed out of a female    the yet-to-be woman

 

1998

 

Poems by Adrienne Rich

Translations

Four: History

There Is No One Story and One Story Only

  

Fox
(Available as a broadside.)