know what he's like. Sometimes he licks my face
like a cat lapping cream. I almost caught him once,
but he disappeared down the bole of an oak.
I know he loves me because he gives me presents.
I found a bottle cap once, Red Fox Root Beer,
on the path I take through the aspens. You've never
seen it in a store, have you? A sign clear as candy.
And a bar of soap by a bend in the river, scented
with Rome apples and never used. I bathed with it
for a month, my evening prayer, till it was gone:
God wants his gifts used. The suds down my leg
like apple blossoms on a branch in the dark.
You say he's not real? As soon tell a mother
the child's not real that suckles at her breast.
I stayed with him all night when he had a fever,
fed him shards of ice to keep him alive, and when
I had no water, I cooled him with my own spit
till I couldn't swallow. Who are you to judge?
Come out and you might see something--foxfire
from the root of a fallen cedar--he's mine.