New Year / The Rabbit’s Gone

by Jean Howard

New Year 

Though all day
the sky laid its lid,
heavy clay sealing
the horizon,

Gray fell
with thickness on hills,
ran its muck
through the scrub oak.

Hours clogged
into prints made in snow,
once brilliant and dazzling
with promise.

With the heavy hand
a sculptor lays
on the medium,
lost as to what shape
will rise from below,

The New Year paused,
pensive and uncast
and gritty with doubt

Until dusk slit
its wrists—
then floods of great crimson
and purpose.


The Rabbit’s Gone

The whole yard
speaks of your existence,
banked snow pocked
with tiny imprints.

Here’s where you stopped
to gnaw, front paws
drilling down
to lavender,
then the romp around
the bird feeder, to join the jays,
doves, and sparrows scavenging
in snow,

The crisscross
through the stunned Scotch broom,
to sit atop the snow-filled back step
where I saw you one
afternoon, fur the color
of oak, eyes
dark vessels full of foe,
and ears that told
you I was there.

There are the three hops
that suddenly stopped.
the two front imprints,
the rump’s recline,
as if you lifted
into sky,

The blaze across
the open page
of noontime yard
when I saw you last,
sailing across the open
gulch, legs in air,

Your long receptors
of days of grazing—
santolina, Russian sage,
lying atop a telephone pole,
how they deceived you,
as the hawk’s
great talons
made their launch.

Category: Poetry