Pen and ink drawing of a rabbit in red and black.


to let their blood

drain over me

This is something that nobles do         and I

am descended

from a long line of royalty


Commerce prospers        We are not afraid

of advancing armies           Rabbit blood is warm and thin


I was fully clothed when I began the rabbit ritual

then disrobed in accordance with tradition


Rabbit slaughter naked in the dim light

white fur stained red          pale skin streaked red

red pools on the marble floors        I bathe in red

Did I mention that I am of the noble class

You probably have noticed this already


Once I was beautiful but now           my face

my hands       my hair

Have you ever seen so much red


You see my father is ill           his heart is weak

I bring him tea          he does not drink

I mash ripe figs with a spoon

and press the thick paste to his lips

with the same spoon I gouge out

rabbit eyes and tell him         Father they are all blind now

I show him the spoon         their eyes         my hands

He nods his head beneath its heavy crown


My father’s bed is the altar where we gather

all the blind rabbits and me

We know the armies are advancing

We can hear them sharpening steel


When they reach us           I will throw myself naked

across the body of my dead father

and they will see us          and they will know

from what nobility

     we have descended



Image: “Rabbit,” by  walker.s licensed under CC 2.0

Mary-Kim Arnold
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