Instinctual Path

This short poem is in no small manner related to life, death, and the natural order of things. Its feature character? An arctic fox and her new family.

I read a “fact” once and it sort of stuck with me. I put it in quotations because I cannot find the tidbit again, but the art still remains. In some of the harshest terrains, some females after breeding will walk off on their own so their family has a better chance at finding enough sustenance to sustain them. It stuck with me, that level of sacrifice is beyond my comprehension. Either way, that’s sort of what inspired this piece.

That, and I think it was below zero the day I wrote it.



Instinctual Path

by Curtis A. Deeter

Alone, the fox tilted her head

at stifling white noise.

Only snow,

descending from nimbus clouds

high in the night sky.

Winter’s numbing touch

stoics her long, malnourished body.

Unsatisfied, weary,

she shivers and moves on.

The path ahead is short, and

all that is left

is waning white.

Miles away, across snow covered land,

concealed in the shadows of a waxing moon,

the father trots on,

five anxious pups follow behind.

Not quite as far away,

a lemming, plump and content,

chews nervously on a stick,

concealed in the frigid alcove that is its home.

The fox’s ears alert to the sound,

pearly eyes focus to their meal.

Quick like lightning,

he dashes and leaps at his prey.

Thorns of ivory close,

The lemming’s blood,

a crimson contradiction

to the nothingness of the wintry landscape,

melts the snow and stains fur.

The fox pups watch

while the ghost of their mother

drifts out of their grasp,

and their father provides life.

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