Home > Animals in the City > Fox in the Shard

Fox in the Shard

June 5, 2013

by Sarah Burke

We explained to him that if foxes were meant
to be 72 storeys off the ground, they would have
evolved wings.
—Ted Burden, BBC

When the fox appeared, brief spark
of orange in the half-built spire,

the crane driver thought impossible,
mirage. 945 feet above the London streets,

71 flights of stairs, old-fashioned ladder
scaling the rafters, the needle’s tip

open to wind and rain. Who knows what
compelled the fox to climb as the structure

moaned and swayed beneath his weight—
phantom scent of food or sex, moonlight

glinting on the stairs? Just a cub,
six months old, living on scraps the workers

left behind, he flickered and vanished for weeks,
rumor, ghost. They named him Romeo,

trapped him in a steel crate strung with chickens.
Released in the city, they say he glanced back

at the tower looming over the Thames,
touched his paws to foreign concrete, loped away.


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Sarah Burke is an MFA candidate in creative writing and environment at Iowa State University. Besides her first publication in qarrtsiluni‘s “Words of Power” issue, her poems appear or are forthcoming in Cimarron Review, Copper Nickel, Green Mountains Review and Passages North.

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  1. June 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    What an interesting story, and the poetry that tells it to us is very well-written. Very nice! -Mike

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