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18 March 2020updated 09 Sep 2021 3:42pm

Domestic Fox Physiognomy

A new poem by Claudine Toutoungi.

By Claudine Toutoungi

The conclusion reached by Russian scientists after decades 
spent domesticating foxes was profound but hardly unexpected:
If you’re going to be tame, be cute. Less chance you’ll be flushed 

down the toilet. I think about that on brutal, baby-filled 
commutes and whether any of the team, Goran, say, or Vlad
ever mistook on a certain cub, its white markings for a bib and 

placed it in a bassinet – fell to coddling it with sugar-cubes, toy 
ducks and songs about the wide, embracing arms of Mother 
Russia. Gave it ear muffs. Made it a scarf. 

Claudine Toutoungi’s debut collection Smoothie was published in 2017; her next collection Two Tongues will be published by Carcanet in October.

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This article appears in the 18 Mar 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The final reckoning