By Olivia Weissblum
The night after I killed the jackrabbit, I chased the rising moon
out to the spot where I'd left its broken body, and found it there,
just before the six-hundred mile mark, due east. The metal parade
of daytime traffic had taken teeth to it, and all that remained
was a wilted pile of meat and bone, hardly to be recognized
but for the small clues: a single long, furred ear; a slender leg,
muscles exposed to the starlight. Blood splattered the road across
both sides of the yellow divider line. It shocked me to see it there,
demolished, right where I'd left it with its skull crushed by my tires
and damned merciful heart. I had expected what?—I don't know,
a tiny rapture? But the roads 'round here are full of blood, and not once
has the hand of God reached through the wide blue sky to pluck
an unfortunate child of the desert, dispatched in un-poetic collision
with civilization, from that long asphalt grave. Perhaps I came
to be possessed by this strange sense of expectation when I saw
one of my victim's kin perched—waiting it seemed—at the gates
of the little cemetery where the townsfolk lay their pets to rest.
The contrast struck me instantaneously, of course, that some creatures
are buried to wind chimes and wailing, while others are preordained
to paint the highway with their blood, unmourned. As I neared, the kinsman
darted into the chaparral, but upon my exit, again sat poised and tranquil
as a tomb effigy at the cemetery gates, eyes red in my headlights, the moon
a fresh orange blossom on the horizon. I knew then, though grief is useless
to the wild dead, that I owed mindfulness to the one whose destined path
had been set from the clock's first tick to intersect fatally with my own.
So I chased the rising moon out to the six-hundred mile mark, due east,
and found the spot, marked by the ragged body, where our stars had crossed.
There I shined light upon my victim's blood, honoring the brief and tiny life.