Carol Peters

The First Rabbit

When Lou’s hand broke
the rabbit’s neck,
we studied our hands for lack
of calluses. Mike swung a buck

by the legs, said
good-bye before he raised
his mallet. His first swing failed,
the next one dazed.

I cleavered head from torso,
watched the muscles contort,
the blood flow.
I peeled the coat,

lopped the feet,
gutted and rinsed the meat.
Later, we soaped away the sweet
reek of recent

of flesh and fat, our profit
of memory and sorrow—our habit
since that first rabbit.