The Fox and the Trampoline

by Cheryl Pearson

The skin of the trampoline
has gone undrummed since Spring.
A cataract of ice shut its eye for a week
to light and sky. Leaves have caught in its skirt
like crumbs in an untrimmed beard.
An eyesore, my husband said, and I
agreed - but who'd sort it now, before
the weather warms, before the gold-winged geese
come back?  Then tonight as I read
at the kitchen table, I see at the very edge of seeing
a flicker curl in the black like the first tongue
of flame curls once the paper has caught -
there again, kindling the garden,
a thread of red, a hot wind. I've heard her
in the bins before, the clang of her hunger
rattling the stars. I’ve never seen her,
not till now. I watch her light the grass, her four
black feet like struck matches, then stop
mid-trot to test the wind, to rest her nose
on a shelf of scent. When she moves,
it’s ballroom-quick – a stepstepstep, then stop.
Then slow as you like, a dainty cross to the net,
then stop – and the fine wedge of her head lifts
and finds the moon, so her eyes spark like
chipped flint, two bright licks of molten gold.
How long she stands I couldn’t say – the room  
with its clock has fallen away like a shrugged-off
jacket. So long I think she means to leap up on the taut
elastic, launch the rocket of her body from its springs,
trailing that fabulous brush like fire. Not so long
I think she’ll stay forever. When finally
she moves, it’s in one flash – there one moment,
gone the next. No matter how I try to fix her there,
you cannot still a wild thing with a wish. The fox
pours through my fingers like water, like air.

Cheryl Pearson lives and writes in Manchester in the North West of
England. Her poems have appeared in publications including The Guardian,
Southword, The High Window, Under The Radar, Crannog, Envoi, and The
Interpreter’s House. She won the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature
2016, and placed third in Bare Fiction’s poetry competition in the same year.
In 2017, she was nominated for Best of the Net and a Pushcart Prize. Her
first full poetry collection, “Oysterlight”, is available now from Pindrop Press.
"The Fox and the Trampoline" by Cheryl Pearson - Second Place - UK Poetry Magazine
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Published May 2, 2018

Second Place: UK Poetry Contest #1

The Fox and the Trampoline

by Cheryl Pearson
(Manchester, England)
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