Dead Fox

by Chris Tusa

In the slow drawl of winter we find it
near the edge of a dirt road,
twitching in a clump of weeds,
its eyes black pools of rain,
splotches of blood like red flowers
blooming in its fur.

We stand for a moment in the freezing air
until my uncle returns with his rifle.
He picks the fox up by its tail,
tells us to wait for him near the truck,
then disappears into the woods.

Minutes later, we hear
the sound of a gunshot echo
through the dark pines. Then,
except the crackle of dead twigs
against the still gray air.