The Story of the Fox

Once, I tried to make a poem into a gun, wanted to stun the world

For a moment, wanted to feel the powerful, cold heaviness of it in my own hand –

But of course, you know, it refused.  First it jammed with writer’s block,

And then it would not be cocked – in solemn protest of the overbearing masculinity

Of the word cocked.  When I finally fired a shot, the racing bullet turned into

A butterfly midair – and this butterfly flitted about, and was quite long-winded,

In describing himself through a series of “I” statements, such as:

I am a Mazarine.  I hail from all over this earth.  I am of the family Lycaenidae. 

I have almost gone extinct, but I am still here, I am still here, I am still here.


Then the gun began rejecting bullets altogether, spitting them onto the earth with the

Mind-numbing cadence of iambic pentameter, each time pretending to wretch,

Saying, prose, ugh, over and over, how can you eat this?


Finally, and with a sadness that pervaded its whole being, the gun went limp,

Lamenting that it was not born a fox, a deer, or even (between sobs) a sickly elm.

It died then and there, in my hands, using its last breath to say, I would have made a terrific fox

Closed its eyes and became pink ice cream in a waffle cone, which quickly

And deliberately melted right through my closed hand.

Okay, I said, in its memory, that was dramatic.  I covered the remains with earth,

And made a little gravestone, marked “Gun that wanted to be a fox,” and I never

Tried to make a poem into anything other than a poem again.

- Erica Skog

Erica Skog lives in Little Canada, MN with her husband, Iver.  She is a graduate of Luther College and has a Master's Degree in creative writing from Hamline University.  She is currently working on her first full length book of poetry.