Brother Jordan's Fox

The fox,
crippled, walks
on his knees. Cocks
fear no danger
from his broken anger.
Rabbits linger
in his presence.
He scents
quail and pheasants
to no purpose.
He must
like all of us
acknowledge law:
the iron jaws
that took his forepaws
took his food.
His anguished blood
does him no good,
he lives by pity
and the brief rarity
of our charity.
The taste
of meat is daily spiced
with a past
he can no longer
shape to his hunger
or to that stronger
will to love.
He must live
forgiving that we give
him life. His pride
in that golden hide
of his provides
him nothing. He
knows it well, pretends we
do not see
without us he would die.
Just such a lie
smolders all our copper eyes.