My brother at ten,
up and over those denuded sunburnt hills,
marching through crisp ferns, his D.B’s wet
with dew, trailing after our eagerness.
City boys a-hunting.
Someone’s father blasted the copse of brittle
blackberry and the rabbits scattered.
When all that grey and rapid movement
settled, several dead and dying
vermin lay still or crawling on the grass.
They pierced the hind legs
with the point of a pocket knife, threaded
a convenient stick between bone and gristle.
Each of us carried back a brace
to be skinned, salted, stretched
upon a coat hanger and hung out to dry.
Purple guts and carcass chucked into the scrub.
Pete could not stomach this, nor dawdling
down that rolling cowpocked hill,
a loose rabbit dangling at his belt
dripping blood onto his saturated boots.
With each step the rabbit bumped against his leg;
each step contorting to a limp, he spoke
to the jolting thing: ‘Sorry,’ he said,
and I keep hearing him say, ‘I’m sorry,’