Poems by Karen Sharpe

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The Rabbit

by Karen Sharpe

From Canary Spring 2015

Karen lives in the foothills of Mount Wachusett in north central Massachusetts on a small farm that abuts the Wekepeke Watershed, a tributary to the Nashua River.

Damp with the dog’s saliva
the rabbit, no bigger than a heart,
fur exactly the color of sandy loam,
trembled softly in my hands.

I tried, but found nothing in common
to say, and I could not offer
to surrender to its pain, to shape shift
and live those last moments in my own
calloused palms, knowing already
there would be none but a wretched end for this.

And, I did not even try, as if
a life so delicate could be wooed,
back from its wounding,
with a prayer of breath near its little nose.

So much wrong in this,
this expecting of godly things in our own doings,
conjuring our own resurrections,
unhurting the hurts among us,
offering a prayer of forgiveness, for the dog,

For her foul jaws and their lusty hunger,
for me, for the mere words I cannot speak,
for my mortal weakness,
this wonder of spirit I keep seeking to find.

A flight of sorrow and dreams, then,
joined among the wings of the clouds,
while I trudged off behind the garden,
my own scowl a curse upon my face.

Death does not become me.
I do not need to be told so
as the chemistry
of my inner life is rewritten.

For hours later,
from the lowest branch
of the maple in the corner yard,
the mockingbird’s
constant song is a reminder
of the ghosts of the regrets
your life has given you
and those you have yet to utter.

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