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an open gate

sent out
i was to cut back the iceplant
that marched upon the sidewalk
it fled before me leaving its wounded on the concrete
i went to get a rake and left the gate open
a careless mistake made a thousand times
with no ill effects
but this the thousand and first
time was different
the dog got out
came back with something white and fragile
held between her teeth
you the rabbit were fine as i held you in my arms
you did not kick unlike our first meeting
i found you in the neighbor's yard
a stray pet unclaimed and wild
now you were calm... too calm
you lay on your side in the dirt
as i stroked your unkempt fur
stay little one stay
you kicked
that was good i thought
but it didn't last
you relaxed -- struggled
relaxed -- coughed
relaxed -- heaved
and then you were
still i felt for your heartbeat
watched with my fingertips as it stopped
and the you that was you and
not white rabbit fur
fled like your cousins who always
scattered before me into the brush
so quickly
so quietly
were you kicking to stay or to leave?

Copyright 2002, A.J.S. All Rights Reserved.