Soft Landings

brown fox on tree stump

The earth was out past the snow now,
mud laid bare in a winter melt.
The thought of catching rabbits day after day is Fox’s reverie
but something catches at the thread.
Odd tacks of early winds and pollen, iced-out shrunken streams—
an oscillation bumps winter into an early spring without its soft landing,
its promise, its mountain snows in green.
Fox knows nothing of broken promises,
she goes about daydreaming,
sniffing tufts of fur among tiny purple flowers.
But hours turn to days
and the purple flowers wither in wild thermal winds that twist her daydreams into dust.
She wanders farther and farther from her rounds
into parched ravines and sandy washes,
damp places where rabbits gather to eat sparse rings of grasses.
Fox chases mirages, following scents in wayward loops
to track down the last rabbit on earth,
a rabbit hiding in a log
afraid to go out into a world that has lost its way.

P.V. Beck

P. V. Beck holds a Ph.D. in the History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her articles and essays on ecology and consciousness, the fool, ritual clowning, and poetic language have appeared in many publications. She is the author of The Sacred: Ways of Knowledge, Sources of Life, first-person readings from North American indigenous groups, and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for the creation of a book and museum exhibit, Oremos, Oremos: New Mexican Midwinter Masquerades. Her home is in northern New Mexico.