a fox, unignored

so the question becomes, 
how do i avoid it?

There is no such thing as elusion
When the elusion stretches across your eyes
like fattening veins.
Ignorance will be in vain 
For the creepers will draw closer
fungi; mildew with an odour
That will scare off my composure
And abandon me with nothing but some cattle with erratic bells.

It’s not warm here. The mind has not entrenched itself
in a rapid mantra of permanence.
The bear floats over my head like a pneuma with a fractured presence
Spirit bear;
a hollow stare churning adagio through the air
Thinly-shrouded by a belaced veil.

I'm scared of storms
of Christs; of jail
Shackles unfurling into rust across my rashes
Turning dry shins to dead weight
Sincere morals to self-restraint

A frail exhale and I unravel
Only in intervals I travel
In attempts to prove my value in the trepid face of doom
Through and through, it’s been decided-
the bear’s itching jaws, lopsided, snap the bone
Of those deterred to prove that we have been blindsided.
remnants of innocence still billow in our throats.
Clean hands; clean impressions; a mind free of guilt
Purified, from stone rebuilt.

When us foxes slink through imminence,
Our thin paws trudging through the shroud,
we'll fail to see the glowing eyes disparaging who we confound.
My fingers have turned too pale;
my face a whale;
Swelled to its scale -
I realize then, with ghastly lucidity,
That only beasts would pay my bail.

The spirit bear turns its back to me
and breathes through its ears
Picking up the scuffle I thought only I could hear
A fawn; a deer; lost deep in trance
Head pulling back and forth
diseases attached to the back of its skull, pressing further until the bone snaps again and innocence is forever led astray.

and the question continues,
without it seeing me?

This poem won the December 2023 Poetry Prize! 

Poetry Editor Micheline Maylor writes about "a fox, unignored" by Amy Savciuc:

The simmering elegance of this poem makes it a standout. The poem begins a rhetorical (split) question and a reference to two spirit animals. The narrator parallels the self with the Fox, who represents deception and greed; yet, a spirit bear also appears, a symbol of courage and leadership. There’s a real self-reflection and moral conundrum happening at the heart of scene. In addition to the contemplation of action, the poet pays exquisite attention to language and sound that evokes the likes of Sylvia Plath or T. S. Eliot. The music, symbolism, and rhetorical devices create a sophisticated and simmering intrigue that loops back onto itself and provokes rereading for pleasure and discovery, as the reader too considers a course of action. 

a young woman in glasses and a white shirt smiles at the camera

Amy Savciuc

Grade: 11 / Sec. V
All Saints High School
Calgary, AB

This poem was inspired by the Ironic process theory (IPT), described as "a psychological phenomenon suggesting that when individuals intentionally try to avoid thinking a certain thought or feeling a certain emotion, a paradoxical effect is produced. The attempted avoidance not only fails in its object but in fact causes the thought or emotion to occur more frequently and more intensely." Since the IPT is also known as ‘the white bear problem,' I wanted to create a poem packed with the imagery of a spirit bear haunting a group of sly foxes - conflicted thoughts haunting guilty people no matter how hard they try to ignore them. The first person point of view reflects the perspective of one of these foxes.

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