A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2005, vol 1 no 3

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Francis Masat

Sly No More

waiting for a bottle of wine
to breathe

A red fox, lying on the side of the road, near the brown no-outlet pond called Lake Pleasant. Its eyes jade green and milky blue, wide open, as if glued. The brick red body, ebony black feet, and long white-tipped tail flash by our car. After a while I think, ponder really, that I should check to see if it is dead. But we are in a hurry (what a stupid cliché) to catch a plane, to get to "Sly's viewing. (I am sure it was dead.)

final descent
sitting lighter
in my seat

It was small, as foxes go—a yearling or a small bitch, like the one I tanned as a child and wore as a headpiece to Sly's wedding feast. What bothers me is that I did not take the time to move it off the shoulder to rest on earth. Instead, we're spending days, flying and driving so that Sly can rest in the earth. I pray that the fox did not suffer as Sly did—took four months to die of lung cancer. Maybe the fox could have used morphine too.

3 AM - still
listening to the rhythm
of a pump



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