Toss

by Janice Northerns

 

Always a line at this booth — toss the ring
at three-liter targets of Coke, Mr. Pibb —
keep what you rope. Three in a row nabs
the grand prize and this is what draws them in —
 

live rabbits. A white one, pink-eyed runt, bald
in spots and none too spunky is all that’s left
tonight. The children beg anyway
for this automatic warm body. The man
in the booth downs several Coors before the whiners
arrive, sneaks a couple more into his cup
 
as kids cart off dusty carbonated
trophies. The air around him is a rabbit rustle
in his head. Carnival closes and he limps
back to his trailer, flipping Coors caps
 

as he checks the rabbit cages. Just one
dead from heat today. The dog, a Blue Heeler
heavy with ticks, knows this part of the game.
He waits, lapping empty air while the man
culls rabbit from cage, ants already fringing
its eyes. The man flicks the prize to his dog’s
waiting jaws
 

and the rabbit tumbles through the dark
like an acrobat. Perfect toss.

 

[Check out Janice’s back porch wisdom]