In the small strip of woods
between my house and the high school
a fox family lives this summer
and we watch them
in the twilight hours
and early, early in the morning.
Tod and vixen and four kits
dance across the cemetery wall
and play among grave stones
two hundred years old.
They chase one another and roll
tangled in red limbs
of some fox game of their own,
pull and eat earthworms after rain
that finally eased the drought,
and munch on the cabbage leaves
pea pods, ends of celery
we give them. (This year
we don’t see many rabbits.)
Many people are birdwatchers
in this small city by the sea.
Gulls, of course — herring and mew,
great black-backed and
also blue birds and cardinals,
house finch, purple finch,
robin, jay, sparrow,
who pick up string, sticks.
bits of shiny left out by feeders.
Jesus said to one would-be follower
that birds have nests, foxes dens,
while he has nowhere to lay his head.
He sleeps these days
in the nowhere of immigrants —
parents seeking children,
children weeping for parents.
Before this summer I thought
the scriptural mention of foxes and dens
was a poor, pitiful thing.
Now I know Jesus meant being together
in a simple place to sleep, play,
with friends to watch,
and offer a few cabbage leaves
is the most joyous place in the world.