Man of a boy carries in leg ways long
the carcassed scrawn of a feral rabbit.
“Killed it this morning, out near the garden”,
his eyes speak both triumph and sorrow.
“Good size. Bow?” I ask, a tilt to his skill.
“Pellet gun,” says he, “was in the clover patch”.
Our voices touch; our eyes never establish rapport.
“An old french recipe I have somewhere”,
stalking shelves, I range across spines, hands fumbling.
“Found it, Lapin en Papillote. You gut him, I’ll cook.”
He leaves to his makeshift slaughter station
as I don the garb of my cooking habit.
I watch him go and am struck: the selfsame
French-Indian blood rhythms in our veins,
our ancestral heritage, the tie that binds,
but the sinew of days and differing
obsessions separate us, father and son,
a gulf more pronounced by the angst of roles,
the iambic feet of stressed and unstressed.
He, when standing, the full length of fourteen;
me, leaning southward, the half shadow of forty.
He, mostly muscle, the abeyance of age;
me, thinning silver, protraction of the same.
We see eye to eye but it is solely somatic,
the years have not yet softened his edges
and the edges have too much hardened my years.
“Don’t overcook” he warns as he renters.
“I’ll not. Hand me that container of bay leaf.”
In detached togetherness we both work.
Placing raw coney in parceled rows, we cook and wait,
impatient in seasoning through the slow broil of time.
In rare moments like these, our struggle simmers peaceward.
After heat and tension run their course,
when sustenance, solely, will no longer suffice,
we learn to work in tandem, though silent.
Our minds, preoccupied with the task at hand,
are scant concerned with being right, only doing.
We move toward the center where the great abyss bridges,
when the sacrifice of something other than our own
egos begins to nourish what remains,
and we both realize, as we toil,
that what we both long for in lost days, is empathy.