I’m walking in the woods alone. Moss pelts giant stalks of trees. Light is sparse here, the
air cool and wet in my lungs. I turn a corner and there, in the path, lies the body of a
rabbit: limp, white and so immaterial I think it is a pile of skin and fun, but when I turn
the thing over with my foot, I see the teeth, long and yellow, the open eye fixed at the
sky. Because I have nowhere special to go, I build a fire by this rabbit. Take off my shoes,
my hat. Soon, the sun will go down soon. The rabbit has crawled into my lap; its death
so fresh the body is not yet filled with carrion beetles. I close the vacant, wild eyes;
stroke fur that feels alive. When I pull its skin from the bone, it comes off clean, like an
unfurling tongue. Its warm guts fill my hand, and I throw them in the bushes. Followed
by the tiny liver. Lungs. I’m careful with the thin blue skinned gall bladder; if it breaks
open, the meat is ruined. I cook its skinny breast on a spit over the fire for my dinner,
and vow tomorrow I will make a pair of gloves from the silky fur in my pocket. Around
me, the darkness is a vein, and I am its blood. I am sick with love.
Wendy Noonan tutors writing and life skills at a small, private art college in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has been featured most recently in Crazy Horse, Muzzle Magazine, and Painted Bride Quarterly.