The Undeniable Pressure of Existence

Patricia Fargnoli
  • Patricia Fargnoli
  • I saw the fox running by the side of the road
  • past the turned-away brick faces of the condominiums
  • past the Citco gas station with its line of cars and trucks
  • and he ran, limping, gaunt, matted dull haired
  • past Jim’s Pizza, past the Wash-O-Mat,
  • past the Thai Garden, his sides heaving like bellows
  • and he kept running to where the interstate
  • crossed the state road and he reached it and he ran on
  • under the underpass and beyond it past the perfect
  • rows of split-levels, their identical driveways
  • their brookless and forestless yards,
  • and from my moving car, I watched him,
  • helpless to do anything to help him, certain he was beyond
  • any aid, any desire to save him, and he ran loping on,
  • far out of his element, sick, panting, starving,
  • his eyes fixed on some point ahead of him,
  • some possible salvation
  • in all this hopelessness, that only he could see.

Patricia Fargnoli, the New Hampshire Poet Laureate from 2006 to 2009, has published four books and three chapbooks of poetry. Her latest book, Then, Something, co-won the New England Poetry Club’s Shelia Mooton Award, won ForeWord Magazine’s Silver Poetry Book Award, was an honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Awards, and was a finalist for the New Hampshire Literary Poetry Book Award. A retired clinical social worker, she has published widely in literary journals and is the recipient of a MacDowell Fellowship and an honorary BFA degree from the New Hampshire Institute of Art. “The Undeniable Pressure of Existence” is from her collection Duties of the Spirit, published by Tupelo Press in 2005. Her poem is reprinted with permission.

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