A Bunny Dies, a Cat Advertises Her Triumph, and I Mourn

I’ve learned not to open the door

when I hear the assassin’s crow

disguised as a distress call;

instead, I look out the window

to confirm the slaughter, see

small, furry hind legs dangling

from the calico cat’s mouth.

I know I must praise her

for her skills as a huntress,

thank her for her generous

contributions to the household,

but I cannot bring myself to let her

ferry this death-omen

across the threshold that

holds the cruel world at bay.

Sneaking out the back door,

I invite her to present her kill

to me in the front yard

among the budding flowers,

stroke her head with words

of effusive admiration.

But later, when she has tired

of the game and gone to take a nap,

it is I who must gather the entrails

of the innocent young rabbit

who sinned not but only mistook

the right moment to leave

the grassy cloister and cross the lawn.

The task that one nauseated

me I now take in stride:

“Another bunny; I’ll get

the dustpan and a plastic bag,”

though I try to discharge my duties

with as much dignity as possible.

But still I mourn the lost life

as I look into the still-open

eyes of the victim,

hoping he didn’t suffer too much

and that his mother hasn’t lost

all her young.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper


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