For days the wind has thrashed the woodland.
Stripped branches whip at an angry sky,
a pool spins in a kaleidoscope of leaves.
In the dark, behind a fallen branch,
a fox senses the stillness yet to arrive.
He lies low, his heart a machine, beating
against his bed of wing-feathers and small bones.
The wind plays a different tune and the pool
slows to the silent sound of drowning.
Concealed in a cloak of leaves, a robin drinks
from a cloud’s reflection, each sip rippling
the silence. The fox moves quiet as a shadow,
his heart machine quickens. He hesitates,
feeling the chill of a human eye.
Like the snap of a dry twig, a pin strikes a cartridge;
his senses implode into a moment of pain.
In the pool, the heart machine pumps out its blood,
the cry of hunger caught in the swirl of dying.

Rowland Hughes ©