Jeannine Hall Gailey served as Redmond, Washington’s second Poet Laureate. She’s the author of five books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and Field Guide to the End of the World, winner of the Moon City Press Book Prize. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her web site is www.webbish6.com and you can follow her on twitter @webbish6.
The Luck of Foxes
The black fox with white-tipped tail
is good luck, while the red fox
is a trickster. Red, white, and black foxes together –
a bad omen. The gold eyes of the red fox
hold the sun in them. The black fox’s fur
sometimes fades to silver, sometimes not.
The fox is here to tell you: you can survive
on beetles and river water.
The fox’s lair holds two kits,
who touch muzzles with bared teeth,
a sort of affectionate threat.
Whatever the vixen brings home in her jaws
will be dinner. Three foxes together.
The fox has nothing to fear except you.
You have nothing to fear except your future, your luck,
the fate that you and fox together are weaving.
Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Seattle-area author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011,) an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist for 2012. Her third book, Unexplained Fevers, is forthcoming from Kitsune Books in 2013. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in journals like The Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. She volunteers for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches at the MFA program at National University.
Lessons From Old Photographs:
Appalachian Childhoods Look Much More Picturesque
You barefoot in a giant T-shirt, next
to your little brother with his thumb in his mouth
and his blanket in hand, under a giant willow tree.
Just out of the picture is the sludgy pond,
with a sign telling people no one was allowed
to eat the fish. Your uncombed hair in mouth and eyes,
looking slightly pensive, slightly fearful, away
from the camera. The light around you is golden
because every picture from the seventies now
has a yellowish hue, which lends an air of nostalgia
it probably did not earn. All around you lush,
and two young children so small in the yard,
alone against the background of tree and tree and wild things.