The Encounter

The burnt-red fox darts in front
of the car's path late at night,
and I'd like to call this an encounter,

though all I really catch is its pointed
tail tip, white in the headlights.
The nearly full moon glows

like an unexpected touch,
or only the thought hovering
between what if and why not.

I'd like to say the fox came back
and danced its fox dance just for me,
and, after I stopped the car and got out,

it put its fox face in my hand, trusting
I would not startle or offend,
but understand the risk it had taken,

moving out of the shadows, crossing
the grass and gravel between us.
Not that I would become fox or it human.

It is never a question of that,
but I would honor the difference,
the strange gift abandon brings.