Fox Jump by Shane Schick

You don’t think about the slaughter to come.
Not until later, when you look it up at home
and learn that this particular pounce –
a russet ring floating above the snow –
is called “mousing,” where the fox isn’t crazy
so much as conscious on a level we are not.
He senses the presence of a critter underneath
the ground and makes a leap based on experience
rather than faith. You uneasily acknowledge –
now, after the fact – that the cheerfulness
of his spring was no mere beautiful balletics.
This was the brandishing of a sword.
It was the cocking of a firearm.
How could a single act, however graceful,
distract you from the opening of an attack?
What is it, you’ll wonder for a long time after,
that so mesmerized you in the witnessing
of that frolicking absence of mercy?

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