Poetry From 2013

From today until the end of the month I’m going to be sharing my favourite poems of 2013. ‘Rabbit’ is a poem I’m really proud of, and it was included in the set I performed at the Southbank Centre in London. Hope you enjoy.

Rabbit

You speak a few words of thanks,
before you break its neck.

You hold its head between
your knees, its white stomach
facing outwards. It’s like the moon
has turned fluid.

You take out the blade your grandfather
gave to you, your name carved
into its wooden handle.

You still have the scar on your arm
from when you were whittling wood
and slipped.

You sharpen it on a whetstone
hung around your neck, then make
a small cut in the perfect white pelt.

You pull the skin until guts are visible,
then cut off the paws with your knife,
and put them to one side.

Carefully, you push your hands
between the skin, until your fingers
meet at the back. Then you ease
out the hind legs.

The skin comes off over the head,
and you carefully pull out
the heart and lungs.

You smell of deep countryside,
and I’m gently drunk on sloe gin.

You ask me to light a dip dyed candle,
while you wipe the rabbit clean
with a warm, damp cloth.

You roughly chop cabbage leaves
and carrots, and we scatter them
in dark fields, under a cold, clear sky,
where rabbits assemble and dance.

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