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Updated: Dec 31, 2023


The cunning fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.

– Thomas Paine



They call her.

Perhaps, it is even her name.

She answers to it just the

same as she did to

Daji, Kayo, and Bao Si.

(They say she has a taste for kings)


Smiles. No,

It’s safe to say, she grins,

fur rippling underneath the mortal

skin she learned to wear so well.

Husband smiles back and does not see.

(She hides her sharpened teeth behind her fan)


Does she remember?

In the milk-sweet darkness, with her Dam,

naked still, cub-brother, litter-sister, all her

family huddled close beneath the earth,

youth-blind and infant-mewling through the night.

(Mewling loud enough a hunter heard)


Clever beast,

She does not say a word.

Lips tight, her hands flutter up like two

birds, to catch a widow’s tears within their palms.

Her husband withers in their wedding bed.

(She’s never played with poison before)


Fox-Widow, Creature-Bride,

how long, how many more

Dynasties and Kings must you ensnare

for crimes that were not theirs?

for a vixen’s game of sport?

(He did not have to let her in, to take her to his bed)



They say the king is dead.

On swift paws with russet fur, they say, a Vixen

fled the palace guards, dodged their swords, and left

nothing but her laughter on the wind.

(And here is what they do not say –

Tamamo-No-Mae got away)

Insp. The legend of Tamamo-No-Mae, a shapeshifting fox that frequently took the form of (or possessed) beautiful women in order to influence rulers and sow discord and death. When she was discovered, legend says that she was killed, trapped or, in some tales...escaped.


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