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Shooting Rabbits at Dinnertime

This is my response to Rabbits and Fire, by Alberto Rios.

Unfortunately, it's a true story.

A previous version was published under a different name in The MacGuffin in 2007.

Rabbit running
Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

Shooting Rabbits at Dinnertime

I briefly left the desert to visit family and see the trees,

grass, soothing rivers of the central region,

where rain is commonplace and rabbits feast

in backyard gardens, safe from burning.

Bold in early evening, one came to the picture window,

centered in silent green, frozen among fireflies,

watched us smother our salads with oil and vinegar.

When my brother-in-law wiped his mouth

with red determination and pushed back his chair,

the scrape against the floor didn't pierce the glass

and so the rabbit, hearing no cause for alarm

stayed to watch us feed; in fact, even after the first shot

hit his hindquarter, he kept wondering about

salad dressing, and his other leg ran him in a circle

until the second shot stopped it.

Now he's buried beside the garden from which he was banished,

but I returned to the west, to the inescapable

knowing about rabbits, who push soft heads

against our cinderblock walls, seeking escape

from the heavy press of heat, the burning prick of cacti at their heels.

Published in The MacGuffin, Spring/Summer 2007, Volume XXIII No. 3

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