Mizmor L'David Anthology 

 

Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing

 Where Are All the Rabbits


(For Bonnie)

 

 

Remember when we sat

at the den windows

and wiped the dew away

looking through the winter haze

and painting smiley faces

when we saw

 

a whisper of fur

cushioned into a ball

fleeting across the bristled grass

as its footprints are buried

beneath the wet earth

nudging at the hard snow

 

and like time itself

it ran beyond our vision

into a blinding sun

and later when we sneaked back

to see it outrun

the moonlit layer of ice

 

becoming a twittering shadow,

an inescapable ghost, and we

giggled as if we had seen a

dream in motion,

a performance like the cartoons

we had watched on Saturday mornings.

 

Mother still hummed the Jewish melodies

though her deformed back reminded

her of the beatings and the family

ghosts she would tell us about and

how she had lived through the torture

of being hated and prepared for death.

 

And we took in her voice of pain

thinking we could escape

that day in winter wanting to see

if rabbits would come closer to

our warm brick home and chimney

smoke that marked the cold sky. 

 

For days we waited and returned

to the den windows hoping

something would change and that

we would understand

how animals think and

why they run away

 

but we never saw them again

yet mother never stopped

humming, and carried on

no matter how high the snow,

smiling away in pain

matching our disappointment.

 

Sometimes, I still put my hand

on a frozen window, one hand

over the other thinking you

are still there and I can almost

hear mother’s voice and wonder

where are all the rabbits.