Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
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an online journal of literature and the arts
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back CLAUDIA EMERSON

Rabbit

1
Same as you, Claude says, creature of habit,
travelling the same narrow path worn
slick, through broomsedge and scrub pines.

To hear him tell it, the hotel in town
still stands, wants to buy every rabbit
you have for a quarter a piece, the meat

lean and dark, cleaned and ready to be
cut up for the frying pan. So you fashion

a trap—you’ll need ten of them for fifty
acres from whatever scraps of wood
and wire you can scrounge from around

the place—and nail it long and narrow, set it
to face the path. Same as you—for an apple
core—same as you, he’ll come around.

2
You go around with a lantern every
morning before light; right away you
know you’ve got one by the little door

being shut. You reach in and grab it quick
by the hind legs; that’s where the strength is.
You know the way you would a newborn

to smack it alive? Hold it tight and upside down.
Sometimes one dies from the fear, saving you

the trouble, but in any case, all it
ever takes is this—quickest clip with the edge
of your hand, see, right here behind the neck.

You can skin it easy with your fingers;
it’s slick—he leans over, slips the sock off
your foot—as this.  


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