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Dull, restless mornings, crawling with hungers—
To have something to do and to have done it.
Blackbirds, treading the rubbery rowan branches.
Sucking down the berries like juju beads.
Walkers heading for work, pointing like windsocks.
The indifferent trees around them, letting their leaves go.
The whining child who stayed up late and won’t rise.
Manipulative, obstreperous, treading the nerves.
And the overcast as interesting as dust.

These are not the days the fox appears.
For those, there can be no expectations.
No hopes that the start will soon unload rich cargos
That will take months, or hours at least, to inventory.
The fox appears on brisk, uncluttered mornings
And hops over the neighbor’s wall with a cat’s grace
And looks back from the bottom of the drive
On four red legs and trots off down the street.
That tail—the day’s one cloud from dawn till dusk.

—Mark Jarman