I’ve just now got wind of a fox
that’s long got wind of men
as he slinks from traffic island to traffic island
to where he’s made his den
in the midst of a roundabout.
I’ve flown into Heathrow
to meet with the latest in iris recognition
a mere five hours ago,
having driven through a hamlet
known as Settecani,
a spot on the lung of Emilia-Romagna,
when the quite uncanny
voice that had started to intone
what sounded like a psalm
through my hire car’s old global positioning system
made me lose my aplomb,
this first psalm seeming to concern
the Etruscan fable
in which the fox sets its nose to the tarmacadam
as to a turntable
before slinking through the centre—
though it’s much less a slink,
in fact, than the embodiment of resignation
that just now makes me think
it’s as if his own mother had
picked him up by the nape
and ferried him across another intersection.
The whole thing’s caught on tape.
This appeared in the April 2012 issue.
Paul Muldoon won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for his book Moy Sand and Gravel. He is the poetry editor of The New Yorker.