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Fox Fox Fox

I collect the funeral ties of fathers and the blessing 

gowns of babes. Hang them in trees, scream the sparrows 

towards me. There is a ritual I want to show them 


in the hot seat of my paw. I glue handfuls of moss 

to my body, I move through the woods 

in green shadow. Show me where the small animals gather. 


Acorn woodpeckers above, practicing infanticide. Egg, egg, egg

Dear old ladies below, they thought this was quaint. Body, body, body

If you are giving birth and not dying you are not doing it right, 


that much is etched into the bottom of the red belted conks. 

Everyone worries about being seen shitting. Your anus inverses 

till all the constellations get pushed through your mouth 


in blasts of star painted vomit. It’s the vision of your guts 

that you should be worried about. The strings of bacteria 

from me to you. When you were born, 


I stitched spots to your back in the shape of a heart. Took you 

to diners, nursed you in restrooms, left your father at a campsite. 

You would prance around the inside of my car, 


leave your heart-shaped hoofprints over the windows.

I couldn’t stop driving back to the hospitals. 

Snuck into every labor and delivery room 


to see what I could find. Look, look, look

Just that same moment of implausibility over and over again. 

I am not immune to the medicine; 


I paid a dead priestess 500 bucks to teach me how to walk on my knees. 

By the time you are reading this, I’ve left all the hangers in the forest. 

It’ll be your closet one day, the place you dress and undress 

looking for the imprint of me. 

Kelly Gray is a writer and educator living in the redwoods, nine miles and seven fence posts away from the ocean. Most recently, her manuscript "The Mating Calls of the Specter" was selected as the winner of the Tusculum Review Chapbook Prize, and her writing can be found in Cream City Review, Southern Humanities Review, Passages North, Pithead Chapel, Rust & Moth, and Permafrost, among other places. Her collections Instructions for the Animal Body (MoonTide Press, 2021) and Tiger Paw, Tiger Paw, Knife, Knife (Quarter Press, 2022), may be found at

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