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The Killing


We come for rabbit. Into a field

Snowgrazed and frozen hard we enter

With shells and loaded shotguns, chilled

To the bone, from woods stripped bare by winter

To the steep furrow picked of its yield.


Following dark necessities

We poke sticks in a small tunnel,

Or stop among broken stalks and freeze,

To bring this nibbler of leaf and kernel

To the mercies of his enemies.


All afternoon we walk and squat

And wait for the hoped-for death to happen.

A rabbit scampers across the rut

And tumbles hard as the bucking weapon

Empties its dead weight in his gut.


Grey trembling thing, its passive eye,

Bright in this tangle of shuck and tassel,

Seems asking what will come and why,

Up to the moment bone and gristle

Give to the gun butt's blunt reply.


All I can say is, what I do

Answers to something in my nature,

Some need that love cannot subdue.

I might have spared this quiet creature,

But hungered, and my aim was true.


Robert Mezey



From Collected Poems: 1952-1999, University of
Arkansas Press, 2000.  Reprinted by permission
of the author.

by Grapholina

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