Wednesday, July 12, 2006

the circle of life

I'm sitting at my new patio table, feet propped, trashy detective novel open, soaking up the evening's warmth. Behind me, I hear the jing-jingling of Warren Peace's collar bell and tag as he returns to the yard. It's a reassuring sound: my kitty is coming home safe in the twilight.

As he gets closer, I hear him mrrowing in that throaty, muffled way that says, "Behold! The mighty hunter brings meat to the pride!" Resignedly I turn around, and sure enough, he's jogging toward me with head held high, a young rabbit dangling from his jaws. He has it by the stomach, so the head and tail dangle toward the ground to form a final frown.

While Warren looks for a place to deposit his kill, I duck back inside for a shroud. I emerge with a plastic grocery bag over my hand like a glove. I join Warren as he displays the rabbit to my other cat, Sprite. It appears to be well and truly dead, for which I give thanks, as this is not always the case. Praising the cat to distract him, I ease between him and his prize.

I grasp the rabbit's foot, no symbol of luck now, between my slippery thumb and forefinger. The body is still warm, the skin sliding loose on the skeleton. I feel rather than hear the crinch of small bones breaking as I lift the body at an unnatural angle. I pull the plastic down, like husking corn in reverse, until its handles flap around around the rabbit's ears. When the rabbit is completely covered and my hand is not, I tie the loose handles together.

I conduct a brief and silent funeral at the garbage can and wonder where this places me in the food chain.


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