Just beyond Bethel on 89, going 70 or so, I ran over a fox.
I couldn’t swerve, couldn’t slow. It happened way too fast.
Now, it sounds simple and small in the greater theater of
Things that happen like that: too slow, too fast to stop,
Laws of nature, laws of physics coming into play, survival
Of the quickest, moving objects of unequal size colliding.
But for that moment, the moment just before we hit, I saw
It all coming, I saw the amazing beauty of the animal, his or
Her energy, the beauty of its strength and movement. I saw
What seemed to be its desperation just as it disappeared and
Became another one of those lumps by the side of the road,
Lifeless, shredded, a thing we drive around, sometimes joke
About, leave to crows and flies, to highway crews charge with
Cleaning up our inconvenient, disturbing messes, the lessons
We leave behind. I heard a small thump under the tires, front
And back. It wasn’t a skunk, so anything it left, like blood, or
Fur, or guts must have worn off the tread almost immediately,
But the image of that fox and its last moment stay with me.
J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, Four and Twenty, Common Ground Review, and Literary Juice.