The Fox Wife

Nicola Daly (Chester, UK)

Helen Ivory: Another invasion, but this time wilier. The Fox Wife gets to know a woman’s life and body so intimately by the end she confesses ‘So I fused our bones together . . . knowing that once / I was living in your skin not even your husband would know what I had done’. A dark folktale of a poem, and the narrator is very believable if you enter the poem’s world with wide open eyes.

 

The Fox Wife

 

After the ceremony I remained in your house all winter until I knew your routine off by heart:

Making beds, gutting fish before breaking garlic with your palms.

I shadowed you around the market and up through the bloodless little stations and beyond.

By spring I had memorised every line on your face and where and when they folded.

For those first months after your marriage I was struck by how the dusk held you

as I watched you sway to Nina Simone amidst the tobacco browns of your lounge.

Even as we speak I can still feel the gentle swell of your diaphragm as you parted your lips to sing.

With time I grew into the scent of dewberries that wafted from your breast.

I visualised myself robed in your garbs of dark fig and leopard print.

When I had perfected your throaty cackle, I wanted the warmth of your wide expressive mouth.

So I fused our bones together with a shard of pearly light knowing that once

I was living in your skin not even your husband would know what I had done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

poem © Nicola Daly