Paul Fattaruso
from Village Carved from an Elephant's Tusk

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Now the doctor hears the breath of the fox

in the final moments before sleep.

 

In the morning he checks around the yard for fox tracks.

 

One night he hears the fox breathing from the foot

of the bed, but then already he’s asleep.

 

In the morning he checks the house for fox prints,

a stray fox hair.

 

Soon the fox seems to breathe onto his pillow as he sleeps.

 

In the morning he catches a blur of tail darting

about in the study from the corner of his eye.

 

He closes the door, turns its beautiful silver key.

He finds his stethoscope, holds it to the door, holds it for a long time to the door.

 

At last he begins searching the drawers

for his great-grandfather’s jade knife.