David Hay

The Night Fox

Walking wounded. My Grandad’s sleeping years
fall upon me as we traverse these lonesome streets
of late-night traffic serenades.

We walk connected through the darkness.
The cold of the winter falling
months after it promised,
when it could be planned for.

We walk past men in trackies
made numb by porn, by the loneliness of other men
spitting fucks like they were stars to wonder at.

You clench my hand as we pass them, leaving the spire of
the church behind.
some fears are too physical, too bound up in flesh.
You draw my attention to the house next to the church,
we focus on it, not thinking, gazing at brick, at sculpted
respectfulness.

A fox awakens from fears’ debilitation
legs so thin the thought of them breaking like ice-pops
before the force of some car makes me ten again,
beside my Grandad’s bed staring at his morphine-plugged
wrist.

Frightened the fox runs into the road towards
the takeaways preaching grease to the trees,
to the pub just closed
no drunken men spilling out
into the night
just the fox, ambivalent to the lights of a car approaching.