A little known way to trace the history
of a fire is to examine the hairs on a fox's back.
Historians deny reports of a vixen singed
matte black after being tempted by an opportunistic
breakfast of mice in a Pudding Lane bakery
in 1666. Flames clung to a curious male like a brooch
during the Blitz: attracted to shadows teasing him
like cat tails, he was almost reduced to cinders
when bombs hit Coventry. The 2011 riots were recorded
in detail on a juvenile's hide when youths mistook it
for a police dog and pelted it with stones
and makeshift Molotovs that almost boiled the night away.
You can look elsewhere, too, for evidence of these observers.
When Rome burned, Nero sang in the company
of a skulk of foxes who licked their lips and whispered
Pretty tune. During the Dresden fire-bombings, a fox
cub separated from its mother brought food to trapped
civilians while navigating burning streets. So the rumours go.
In the Arab Spring, a brave vixen defended a pair
of German Shepherds threatened by an army convinced
they belonged to the rabble. She was paraded through the back
streets of Cairo before being celebrated by local imams, offered
lashings of rose water and all the lamb she could eat, while
the Nile silently rose above her like a crocodile.
Christian Ward is a UK-based writer who can currently be found in Culture Matters, Literary Yard, Impspired and Poetry and Places. Future poems will be appearing in Sein Und Werden, The Pangolin Review and Asylum Magazine.