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Christian Ward: a poem

Fox Fires

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.

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