I am only a small grey rabbit.
Far above me, blackening the sunlight, hungry creatures
swoop and soar on giant black wings.
Their shadows glide along the parched desert ground,
sliding smoothly up jagged cliffs, long silky black fingers,
touching the distant heights where I cannot climb.
My heartbeat cracks the silence of sunset’s soft approach
with anxious thumps and bangs drumming wildly within,
a caged creature struggling to burst free,
heedless to the possible sacrifice of my small self.
Within this plain and simple rabbit skin,
am I something more than my beating heart?
How can a lowly creature dare think such a thing?
The cactus people never share their thoughts with lowly rabbits.
Perhaps they are surprised that I exist at all.
Hidden within my spiny thicket of cactus, I watch
a solitary black mountain rise high above the grey clouds.
Daylight darkens as the mountain accepts a last caress of light.
Great streaks of red wash the sundown sky,
whispered warnings breathe on the still air,
and my steady heartbeat cries, “Beware, beware.”
What is this dreadful longing to creep fearfully forth,
desperate to crouch in its soft earthen shadow,
curiously calmed, finally at peace.
I edge down unprotected slopes onto open ground,
while frantic heartbeats leap and pound, “Beware, Beware!”
I wonder if my heart will finally crack wide open.
Why would a small, frightened rabbit risk her entire being
to finally break free from the shadows,
to risk everything, simply to touch
for one brief moment an unknown, waning end-of-day dream,
draped in glorious red.
Jeannie Hope Gibson
inspired by Kathy Schuitt Art openwithdesign.com