The Rabbit Woman – Kitty Coles

The Rabbit Woman

A dry day, the mouth closed on itself,
shrunken for want of water, and the sky
cloudless, the stomach clenched
on its own emptiness
and the stubble drifting from cornfields
clogging the throat, jabbing the eyes
with the its spindles: such thick dust!

A rabbit, gaunt, flits out from under the hedge,
its gait half-drunken from the ovenish heat.
I launch myself at it and my head’s pain
lurches and rolls, slamming against the skull.
My legs are heavy and my hands too slow.
It vanishes. My belly twists and rolls.

That night, the sheets asweat,
I dream of that bunny.
It lies across my lap, listless and pliant.
It is plump, now, padded with flesh
that will fall from its bones,
that will nourish me,
with its richness, after simmering.
Its black eyes glimmer like liquid,
doomed and tearful.

I awake wet-lipped and hungry.
I see stars
flying like midges
by the open window.
I am sick with longing and bloated
on its substance.
I tremble to let my teeth
meet in that absent meat,
to make that wild blood run
on my avid tongue.

In a month, I birth a litter.
They come raw, unfinished,
slips without eyes or fur,
a creel of red prawns.
They writhe and struggle
so briefly – poor kits –
then lie still,
unfit for life,
malformed by the hunger that bore them.

 

Kitty Coles lives in Surrey. Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies. She was joint winner of the Indigo Dreams Pamphlet Prize 2016 and her debut pamphlet, Seal Wife, was published in 2017. www.kittyrcoles.com

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