The Little Rabbit
I saw the little rabbit when I was taking the trash out
to the communal apartment dumpster
lying in the middle of the drive on its side, chest moving up and down
a little wet, red bubble forming in one nostril. Someone had hit the rabbit just right
just enough to break its neck or its back but not dead-on, not enough to flatten it
or kill it outright. I put the kitchen garbage in the dumpster and went over to the rabbit
knelt down beside it, saw it tracking me with its wild, wide open eyes.
In every movie I’ve ever seen, every story I’ve read
you’re supposed to put injured animals
out of their misery, but it just never seemed right to me.
How much is too much for an animal? And if they’re so close to the end,
like this tiny brown rabbit was
what if they want every last minute they’re allotted? Who am I to steal those
last, precious moments from it?
Carefully, I slipped my hands under its warm little body, felt its heart
beating so fast against my palm, took it over to the side of the driveway
set it down beneath a hedge, somewhere it could feel soft grass and dirt
one last time, instead of the hard, rough asphalt
that smelled of oil and garbage. I thought if the rabbit was going to die anyway
it might as well die somewhere sweet and soft. It squeaked a little when I set it down
I probably hurt it, I hope I didn’t.
I don’t know why, but a few weeks later
when I was filling out an application form for a job I really wanted to get
when they asked me about something I’d recently done
that I’d been particularly proud of, like some kind of award or achievement.
all I could think about was that rabbit, and how I really felt good
that I’d moved it from the driveway to the grass to die.
I wrote a few lines about the experience, which turned into something
that wrapped around the bottom of the page
and needed to finish somewhere near the middle of the blank back side.
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised
that I never got called back for an interview
but I’m not very good at filling out those things anyway.