Rabbit Hunting

Railroad tracks

on the east side of town

by the bridge over 67th Avenue.

Rabbit hunting.

I’m seventeen years old.

A fresh coat of snow on the ground.

Cold wind slaps my face.

My single shot 20 gauge loaded and cold in my hands,

a half dozen six-shot shells in my coat pocket.

Late afternoon,

sun is sinking on the horizon,

painting the sky watercolor pink

with wide swathes between the grey clouds.

From the top of the elevated tracks

I see a patch of gray moving in the thickets of brush

at the bottom just ahead of my brother.

I raise my shotgun to my shoulder and point it at the first opening

ahead of the rabbit, slide the safety off,

and wait,

no more than a second or two,

for the opening to be filled.

I squeeze the trigger.

The shotgun explodes,

rabbit tumbles over its front legs

In Peckinpah slow motion

and abruptly stops, lying motionless in a thicket,

a drop of red in the snow next to its mouth.

As the echo of the shotgun blast fades

and the gusts of wind pause,

the whole world falls still

if only for an instant,

for eternity.

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