Demarcation Zone

Picuris Peak in frost south of Taos, NM

Lower slopes of Picuris Peak (telephoto)

The cat was scratching at the front door. She’s been known to rattle the door knob, but this wasn’t the case. I opened it, looked down, and she ran in with a rabbit almost half as long as she is. Young, but no baby. Left it jerking and bleeding with its mouth open and its eyes bugged out on the adobe step in front of me. Giving it to the head cat, I guess. I picked it up by its warm hind feet and carried it down the path to the acequia, leaving the still-living rabbit in a sheltered spot back under an old sagebrush. I mean, you never know. My dad once ran over the household Siamese with the front wheel of his Porsche 356. She was still alive but didn’t move. They put her in a towel-lined box in the garage, and on the third day, she arose. So you want to give them all another chance. Went back to look at the rabbit three hours later. Stiff as a board. I picked it up by its cold hind feet and flung the coyote treat as far as I could into the brush.

All in the midst of total possession, blackness incarnate, radiating pain. Danger to all life, destroyer of known worlds. Morning loving fails. “Maybe later when I haven’t been so mean.”


Grownup truth like cool clear water, wash away the tears. (Picked up by my bare feet, laid beneath the sage.) What can happen now?

God, she is so beautiful. Golden aspens in the frost.

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  • Marti Fenton October 13, 2013, 11:34 AM

    Powerful poetry, John. This is the magnificent, raw place that we live.

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