She was in the garden when the fox appeared:
she glanced toward the fenceline --
fingertips paused on the radishes she was pulling,
red globes still cool in the dark May loam --
and studied his silent stare, his eyes on her
the way the boy in fourth grade watched her,
intense and burning, reading her orphanhood
with a hunger like a spark in tinder.
And it all came back, the blazing shame
and the freezing nights in the dormitory,
touched and taunted in the dark --
no name -- no one knows who you are --
weeping tears sour as the scrubwater
they made her use on the wooden stairs
while Sister Superior sneered, her beads rattling
like the wheels of empty boxcars beyond the back fence.
The other boys never noticed, never spoke,
but this one with the fox-colored hair did,
naming the name they gave her, rolling it
like a hard candy on his tongue, gently,
while she burned in awful stillness.
He never said what the others did,
nobody wants you.
But he left, too, without trace or echo,
and now here he is again,
purposeful at the garden corner,
his fierce eyes on her, boring in
while she gardens alone and vulnerable,
A. C. Grayling