Saturday 18 June 2022

'me and the foxes battle it out along the railway line' by Deborah Tomkins

i been here four years. a hole, a tarp, leaves for camouflage. borrowed a spade, dug deep enough for me gear and to sleep curled up like a fox. on dry nights i stick me feet out and have a stretch.

kept the spade.

we got an understandin, me and that old vixen. she don’t go past the elder tree, neither do i.

except i do, when she ain’t there.

she bit me once. i whacked her with the spade. that’s our understandin.

there’s this woman, roasts chickens, chucks em over the fence for the foxes. i hear a thud and smell a smell, and i’m there, grabbin that chicken. sometimes i get back from checkin bins and find them foxes chewin the bones. it don’t matter, if i got pizza or kentucky or chips.

sometimes it do matter.

vixen’s got her cubs. hear em squeaking in their den. they gotta eat.

i gotta eat.

that woman’s been cookin, can smell it. makes me stomach rumble. chicken comes over, hits the trees, lands on track, splat.

train’s coming. i stand up, look casual like.

vixen’s not fooled, creeps slow to the track. i stroll about like it’s nothin important. i weigh me spade in me hands. she looks at me, cat eyes givin nothin away.

train speeds up, horn blarin. vixen leaps.

train gone. vixen gone.

chicken smashed, cubs squeakin, me shocked.

lost me appetite.

scramble down, collect roast bits. poke smashed chicken into den, sharp little teeth on me fingers, don’t care.

cubs lost their ma.

sit by den, hear squeakin, feel sad.


wake, nasty foxy smell up me nose. vixen sleepin just here.

there’s a sandwich sittin between us. beef salad. in date.


wanna stroke her.

better not.

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