O Loving, o sweet

Mary’s inner fox is in sexy exile.

It has leash burn and bloody paws

from pacing in her womb. Mary’s gut echoes

with its growls.

 

Joseph loves Mary’s pies.

He calls from the couch, asks

for peach, a la mode. Mary is Southern

and accommodates Joseph in the kitchen.

 

There is a knock at the door. Mary’s neighbor

is out of sugar. Mary lends her a cup and a half

and watches the sun on her hair

as she crosses the yard.

 

The fox is at it again.

As it begins to move, Mary startles

and cuts her finger slicing fruit.

She goes into her room for a bandage.

 

In the bedroom Mary lets the fox

out. She pets and pets it until

it is silky smooth. The static in its fur

pulses in her milk-white fingertips.

 

Mary lets it lick her nipples. She wets her own

fingers and touches the fox under its tail.

Humidity coats them like batter.

 

Mary returns to the kitchen and finishes

her pie.            Joseph doesn’t know about the fox.

He eats dessert in their bed. “Mary, this is

delicious!” Joseph says happily, stroking crumbs

 

from his beard. Mary is thinking

of a cup and a half of sugar.


Jan Edwards Hemming hails from the South and holds a BA in English from LSU and an MFA from NYU. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Mackinac, The Rio Grande Review, The Exquisite Corpse, The Weirdlings, and Weave Magazine. She lives in Los Angeles with her wife and their two cats and teaches creative writing to children and teens.