by Kate Schapira
“Rabbit, on Friday you’re gonna be dead. And I’m sorry. And I hope your spirit is still around.” –Spider-Man, age six, after two boys shot two boys at the corner of their house. Rushing the kids inside, the projects empty. Three policemen in a tight blue group. That same day its cage is minimal. Spider-Man and his sisters feed it carrots. The bullet went through one boy’s balls and lower abdomen; he’s coming home tomorrow. Make your list of victims partial.
Spider-Man wanted to see the rabbit cooked and stab its heart with a toothpick, see the blood come out. I had to explain butchering. Anything can be transformed this way, fill with particular bodies whose distinguishing marks have been removed or obliterated. Something else: if no one knows you did it, it was done, abuse removed to passing. The biggest river of fast compassion that ever flowed. Something else: if no one stops you. The water’s reek overpowers its solvency. Just as in mythology you can have the mythological animal—how far apart they are, eating one does not destroy the other—so mythological knowledge and real dismissal, sanctity like scattering ash without marking the place, like each burial with the bounty you can’t collect.
They did eat the rabbit. Maybe they learned something. Spider-Man’s sister heard about prisoners hunger-striking to come up for trial, then being force-fed. It’s not clear what she thought was sad. I called her attention to the cop at the pound, one earring glittering as he led us kindly through; male pit bulls trained to slip the leash threw barks against their bars. I felt the errand slipping away from me, toward you. I dream of being chased by you as a band of hostile eleven-year-olds at the foot of a rubbishy slope. Congolese rapists I read about in the copy room; cursing mouth, facing the stove; the steep counter, dividing like a mountain range.