“Dreams go by contraries,” said Mr Fox, “But tell us your dream…”
– English fairy tale.
In elliptical eyes, luminescence needs no light, radiance dances more than twice
while in the places we see, places we don’t, ghosts patrol and count out the elements,
the species gone to earth. For us, retinas mirror bliss at the peak of the universe,
a tail ablaze in spray paint fades around us: the laurel-flanked, orbited us.
Us. In a centrifuge of snake’s breath.
For when white robes mask a spitfire core, an unrolled risk is brazen. It’s merciless.
It’s fox-gloved fierce as it writhes from the grave up taunting men who gasp and grasp,
who bawl medicine for their frostbite.
They told me: kitsune-no-yomeiri was a veiled bride who never was,
and where I saw a furnished earth, an octopus dog,
the kiln-breath from his copper mouth
turned grandmother cogs, made haunted folk chew twigs, swallow insects.
“…because, yes, we are… mercurial.”
So, I hacked my hair to stop you – wrapping it round your fingers;
to stop it feeding from the dried earth’s blood like roots I always wanted. Never wanted,
radiant but unreachable, the sky mouths secrets at me ‘til –
“We waltz at twilight, all to glimpse the rainbow,
all to place our backs to the round, red sun…”
But still, spheres glow; scarlet shows when eyes close
and, as a maestro turns all glare from the aura, it’s there:
under the fingernails, burrowed between –
All day and night I breathe, but – trust – I refuse, refuse to live because
fox spirit is not part of us and my heart, a shade of arctic storm,
might die from you the way that skulka means to lurk, to twist.
To untwist this twitch-whiskered game is the fox in my eyes
and from here, the vista is a cartwheel on a roof
while your returning gaze is just some lost place.
Those sprites who jostle, tail-chase in the cool belly of a flame:
they can see you – fine, celestial thief who stashed
my fading orange pelts in boxes, hid snares inside your flame-retardant baskets…
In all the ways a secret can disperse, please, and now – deploy the decoys.