Taxidea taxus


Mark Lee



              In White Mountain Apache folklore,

              the badger carried darkness upon his back.


You carried darkness

Bundled like pieces of a broken dream

Obsidian edges in a sack


You are solitary

You carried great things

Of great weight upon your low flat back


Burrow deeply

Into earth deeply into thought

A respite from the slow heat of desert life


Your long black claws scrape against

Scrape through scrapping a way

Away from the desert's heat


Long after your musk is gone

Others will shelter in your den

Comfort born of your aggression



Stripe down your muscular back

Is this what Darkness left you when it left?


Thick fur over loose skin

The mask of Zorro and a pointed







You are


Of the Darkness



Of the Thunder

Of the Mountain Lion


I hold in my hand your sun

Whitened skull Not a stitch of flesh

To cover your truth


Even now you bare your teeth

So that I must give in

Give in to your wish to remain


I place you back at the base of the cliff

Forever snarky and snarling

As the darkness sets down




Mark Lee is a bicycle mechanic and poet who lives in Tucson. He studied creative writing at the University of Arizona.