Last night I killed a fox

its true
I did.
do I share this in a vain attempt at salvation?
like confession  to the priest.
maybe I want you to know so that I can discharge some of  this grief  and guilt I feel.
there are some people who believe
that killing a fox is a good thing , 
that it is  one less piece of vermin around,
one less chook eater 
one less interloper on our landscape.
I am not one of those,
I love them.
I love their capacity to  survive in a land  that vilifies them
 I admire their adaptation to hostility and poison.
I am love  to see them racing across the grassy paddocks 
a wild freedom thumbing its nose at its predators.
I am not entirely clear why the fox is so hated
why it is vermin and the dog is our most loyal companion?
I have always loved them all way back to the brer fox and brer rabbit stories of my childhood.
 when I first came here and  lived in the shack  
sometimes while standing at the kitchen sink I would see a fox on the other side of the creek
coming out of a den in the bank sniffing around
and if I so much as clinked the dishes  the head would come up and look directly thru the trees at me.
after a time I learnt to recognise their scats and follow their trails thru the bush
the smell of them that they leave behind is now known to me.
Once I  carefully followed a fox with a rabbit in its mouth 
thinking I was being very discrete
at some point it stopped  and looked back over its shoulder   as if to say I know you are there. 
I let it be then .
 last night under a bold bright moon sky
a few kilometres outside of bega 
I saw a fox neither full grown nor puppy stage. 
it edged out onto the road to the left of me
 the coat moon gleaming and  eyes glowing in the headlights
then it seemed to have a change of  mind and turned back,
before I could complete the thought phew
it had turned again and made its run straight out in front of me.
maybe I am too slow to act 
maybe I could have swerved.
I hit it full on and there was a  banging  and thumping under my car 
until the moment was over and I was still sailing safely  along the highway 
and there was one very dead fox left behind.
I could not weep not then 
but I gasped I gulped 
I went sort of numb 
pulled over when I could 
turned around and went back /
I took my torch and  there it lay in the middle of the lane with the guts spilling out .
I sat for a long time 
trying to understand how it was that I had killed something that I love.
 Gently I dragged the fox off the road 
with squelching sounds and leaving a trail of blood.
 and a childhood memory was evoked of   stroking my mothers fox fur stole. 
I should skin it 
take it with me
 but there was no knife and I could not lift it.
I am sorry was  my mantra all the rest of the way home.
but no matter how sorry I am 
no matter my why 
or sadness
nor my guilt
nothing changes the reality
that last night I killed a fox.

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