Four Months Ago:
Our pet rabbits ate the trim,
Ate the sheetrock, ate the deck,
Then ate their way out of their pen.
So we ate them.
I shot them the day before fatherhood;
Before I pressed my knuckles into Savanna’s
Lower back as she breathed through contractions;
Before she crawled around on the grass to move
The baby into position;
Before I watched a woman become an animal;
Before I gained a new respect for my wife’s ferocity;
Before I held her hand as she pushed and pushed
And pushed after twenty-seven painful hours when
Exhausted, the baby crowned and she touched
Her hair and her eyes widened and she laughed
Hysterically and kept pushing and pushing and pushing
And then didn’t sleep for what seemed like two full days
After the baby was born.
Empowerment of species.
Two moose found our garden in a wide open forest
Full of birch saplings and cottonwood leaves.
They wanted raspberry, apple, cherry, and kale;
I can’t blame them.
But when they started to charge, stomp, snort, circle;
When they no longer ran away but ran toward;
When we could no longer use the outhouse
Or let the dogs out or sleep at night or use our solar panels
After they stomped the cables;
After ten days of full frontal assaults,
I shot a young bull and watched it die in the orchard. It cried out, so I shot it again.
I felt relief. It was the first moose I’ve killed, it didn’t bother me
Like I imagined. Fish and Game didn’t like it;
Wife, baby, dogs, neighbors did.
Fatherhood is bloody, painful and sacrificial.