I saw the big fox again on the path
at twilight. To see something improbable
more than once seems like
it should be good
but in China the teaching is that the fox is not.
Elder daughter, hair of copper, newly past her teens,
points out the obvious.
You are not Chinese.
(Which, I point out, she would also do if she were Chinese.
Into mid-twenties, unforeseen,
she will have an apartment in Beijing.)
I saw four or five smaller foxes among
the children’s playground things.
The slide, the baby swings.
One may have been the shadow of another.
Because they are hunters, as I passed,
Tracked. What I said was run away run
Not because of the luck. Or hunt.
Because it’s only when you say stay
and it can’t
and it won’t
and it doesn’t
and it goes
that it is
This selection comes from Peggy Hamilton’s book Questions for Animals, available from Ahsahta Press. Purchase your copy here!
Peggy Hamilton, a native Miamian, received her BA in English from Barry University, and her MFA in Poetry from FAU in 2007. She is the author of QUESTIONS FOR ANIMALS (2013) and FORBIDDEN CITY (2003), both from Ahsahta Press. She’s a recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Grant in Literature for Poetry, and an honoree in the State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Children’s literature. She’s been a finalist in the National Poetry Series, Barnard New Women Poet’s Series, the CSU Poetry Prize, and the Heekin Group Foundation’s Novel-in-Progress Award. She’s taught community writing seminars at FIU and the Florida Center for the Literary Arts, has read poetry and performed with Devorah Major, poet laureate of San Francisco, at a Miami International Book Fair event called “Performing Persona.” Before teaching at FAU as a graduate student, then as an instructor, she was a jury consultant and grant writer, and taught grant-funded intensive programs for young adults, many of whom were in residential foster or treatment programs, or correctional facilities. Currently she lives in East Tennessee, and is Director of Programs for a nonprofit educational startup that will offer residential writing workshops to high school students as they prepare for college.
T.A. Noonan is the author of several books and chapbooks, most recently four sparks fall: a novella (Chicago Center for Literature and Photography, 2013) and, with Erin Elizabeth Smith, Skate or Die (Dusie Kollektiv, 2014). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Reunion: The Dallas Review, West Wind Review, Hobart, Ninth Letter, and Phoebe, among others. A weightlifter, crafter, priestess, and all-around woman of action, she serves as the Associate Editor of Sundress Publications, Founding Editor of Flaming Giblet Press, and Literary Arts Director for the Sundress Academy of the Arts.