“Call of the Fox” by George Bilgere

George Bilgere


The summer we rented the cottage in the woods
we would waken in the middle of the night
to the mating call of the foxes, 

which sounds like one of my freshmen
barfing up hot dogs and Wild Turkey
after his first frat party, a sound
that makes you want to puke yourself
out of sympathy or sheer disgust
with the whole situation, 

how the imperatives of desire
drive us into the dark woods,
sick with the incandescent
loneliness of the flesh.

However, after listening for a while, 
my wife remarked
that it was actually kind of funny, 

as if nature, usually so careful 
about beauty, about getting it just right, 
had for once screwed up, 
and created something even
Mary Oliver couldn’t get behind. 

And then we thought, 
well, since we’re up anyway,
and there’s nothing else to do …

Which is why my wife
is my wife.

from Rattle #74, Winter 2021


George Bilgere: “We had a pretty lousy spring. A disaster of a spring. The season of new life became a time of strange and frightening death. But when summer finally arrived I felt it was time for a change. Maybe it’s a cliché, but I felt it was time for something life-affirming. And for me that’s always been poetry. Like pretty much everyone else my family and I stayed put this summer, and I spent the long weeks and months reading and writing. I realized once again that in difficult times poetry can sustain me. I read Neruda. I read Rilke. I read my dear friend who has passed away, Tony Hoagland. Dorianne Laux and Barbara Crooker. Set against the backdrop of the pandemic, the poems I read burned with a strange new life. Instead of the immensity of the tragedy dwarfing poetry, it infused it with a tremendous new vitality for me. It kept me going.” (web)

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