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12 April, 2018: Rabbit


by Chanda Feldman


My father said best to begin small,
with rabbits, that the shotgun’s butt
should tuck in my shoulder’s palette
and that God’s sovereignty must
feel like spotting an eye in the thicket.
This was granddaddy’s farm,
not our subdivision’s patient lawns.
We jumped cottontails from sticker bushes
to pare them to a pound
of meat. My father nested me
in his body against the recoil
that sung up my arms.
                           He told me
of my great uncle who, Depression era,
loaned white townspeople venison
and preserves. Later stood off
the same ones with a gun
when they wanted his property.
This isn’t a story of kindness,
he warned. Even rabbits have
distress signals at death.
To dress them: head cut, body bled,
hock joints slit, fur in fist
to strip the skin. Our whole winter.
My father’s position terminated
in “fiscal rearrangements.”
He said to be a good hunter one
became the target. My father dashed
gun to chest, balanced his breath
for a taste of sweet meat.

“Rabbit” by Chanda Feldman, from The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. University of Georgia Press, 2007. Used by permission of the author.
Chanda Feldman is the author of Approaching the Fields from LSU Press. Her poems have appeared in the journals Alaska Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review and Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Her poems have also been anthologized in Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South and Gathering Ground: Cave Canem’s 10th Anniversary Anthology. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University, Feldman has received awards and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Cave Canem Foundation, the MacDowell Colony and the National Endowment for the Arts. Originally from Tennessee, she is a visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Oberlin College.


Write a poem about a friend’s profession or job. What have you realized about the job through this person that you might not otherwise have known?


Chuck Joy
Wonderful poem, Chandra Feldman!
4/12/2018 12:47:43 PM

N. K. Hasen
A Fur Friend’s Job

My friend unfortunately doesn’t have job.
She has been unemployed all her life.
She stays at home;
Sleeping every chance she gets.
To say she has a profession;
Would be to underscore the meaning.
For she windows watches and play,
When she is not involved in sleeping.
But, her job is to love unconditionally her owner.
She smiles, softens the bad days.
She licks her encouragement.
She brings enjoyment in the home
With her sometimes-crazy ways.
I realize she is lucky to not to work
But, days can be boredom with nothing to do.
For a dog’s life is simple at its best,
Just relaxing at home and doing things at your own pace.
4/12/2018 11:22:57 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.