Three Rabbits

A poem by Jane Wong

August 3, 2023

My dog was being a bit too
quiet. I went out in the yard,
slick with marital refuse, rubbing
at my ring line like it was
the self-tanner of my Jersey
dreams. I found him by
a nest of three fresh rabbits,
their massive black eyes like
astrological charts. So terribly
small, how I felt, left on that
Denver street. My ex-fiancé had thrown
car keys at me in sudden fury, and this
was the bouquet I was supposed
to catch? The silver clanged, cursed
against the ribs of the car. You're
scaring me, I said. I'll take care
of that for you, he spat, and then:
gone. The rabbits were paralyzed
with fear, warm breath liquidated
to rock. My dog had his mouth
over one of their heads. I'd
seen him thrash and unstuff so
many toys, puncture squeakers
with secretarial focus. His mouth,
his own baby jaw, over the rabbit
like a hot helmet. Oddly
gentle. No, no, I whispered. He looked
at me, who he loved unconditionally,
and he retracted his mouth, slowly,
like a claw crane in an arcade. We
went inside; the bunnies survived.
I know what was in his nature.
I wouldn't have blamed him.
And yet. And yet.