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Killing Rabbits

by: Miroslav Válek 2019-05-062023-03-31 finished certainty: log importance: 0

On Sunday after breakfast,
when the air is about halfway to ice,
the thin flutes of the mice are whistling in the chimney,
on Sunday after breakfast
to walk over fresh snow
to the cages.

Pull off the gloves for the rose feast.
Impale them on the fence
like freshly severed palms
and smoke through the door.
And then insert the hungry hand
and with smoke in your teeth utter sweet words,
caressing and gentle,
a touch of pity,
then a firm grab of the skin,
lifting it from the warm straw.

On Sunday after breakfast
sniff the ammonia.

For a while hold it head downwards,
watch the ears turning dark red,
gently stroke its back,
exhale, carry it off
and abruptly strike the back of its neck with the right hand.

Once more in your palm feel the effort
of a now useless leap,
feel a weight in your hand,
sweet taste on your palate,
hear the rabbits’ heaven open
and fistfuls of fur falling from it.

Viennese blue,
Flemish giant⁠,
French lop-eared⁠,
Czech piebald,
and even the bastards of no matter what blood,
they all die equally swiftly
and soundlessly,

On Monday with blue under your eyes keep silent,
on Tuesday reflect on the fate of the world,
on Wednesday and Thursday
bring out the steam engine
and discover the stars,
on Friday think of others,
and especially of blue eyes,
all week long feel sorry for orphans
and admire flowers,
on Saturday step pink from your bath
and fall asleep on her lips.

On Sunday after breakfast
kill a rabbit.

1963 [from One Hundred Years of Slovak Literature: An Anthology, ed Chrobakova2000]