Where new writing finds its voice

The grey fox

Kate Kilalea

I am the grey fox
grown from a rat
like a building shrunk to a telephone box.

Grey is the colour
of a fire grown tired. Grey,
the cold forgotten tea. Grey is me

in the thin white t-shirt
I keep just for cleaning-up
and the dull thump of the pot

as it dropped on the floor
and the smell of dishwater.
The rain is nibbling the walls,

a post box swings back and forth.
The open door. Grey buses
and a grey sound

of a zip zipping.
An old man in a cabriolet
lit a pipe, coughed, and drove off.

A kite of birds drifted over.
The leaves lay like pavement dogs.
Grey was my breath

where it met the winter air.
I am the grey fox, stopped, listening.
I hear the dustbin lid wobble on its rim

and the cats. Damp sheets of newspaper
stick on the street
and I watch the city sit down like a drunk.