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The Fox Den



Recipient of the 2013 Adroit Prize for Poetry
Judge: Garth Greenwell

As a kid on Spring evenings
while junebugs  hooked their legs
into every drop of water and lassos
of grey moths sliced the air,
I would sit mid-driveway
waiting for a family of fox pups
to emerge from their hole in the earth
beside our house. Every May evening
they were born from red straw beds
of those woods; sharp-eyed, black-chinned
creatures burning behind the trees
like apparitions of the sunset.

I would always rise too quickly,
plastic zippers buzzing, shoelace
slapping concrete, scaring them
underground again.  It knocked
the heart out of me to send something
back into blackness, to think a necklace
of sun-hungry dogs was snaking its way
back towards the center of the world,
all because I shuddered, all because
I thought I heard the wind call
my name, and rushed to meet it.


Shelley Whitaker is an undergraduate student at Hollins University originally from Shreveport, Louisiana. Her poetry has appeared in Punchnel’s, and “The Fox Den” subsequently appeared on Verse Daily.