The Beggar and the Rabbit by Casey Nichols

In the story, the starfields lie empty.
A bird no one looks at perches on a branch,
becomes a man. He remembers
his old lives, his wings tearing sky.
Predawn a razorblade chipping at the dark.
He lurks in the cold pines. Collects kindling.
Gathered stars curl to ash, fire at his feet—
his fasting body a brittle reed in the glow.
There is black memory, cavern, ellipse.
All wants of the body are but wants
of that dark valley. New worlds and hunger
plume within him. Even the white hare emerging
from the poplars, milkflesh ears and quick bones,
somersaults out of herself, her pink licked
in flame—just enough smoke
to stain the man’s fingers, adorn the dark moon,
to drape her likeness in the sky.
Casey Nichols is an MFA candidate in poetry at Bowling Green State University, where she is a Devine Fellowship finalist. In 2010, she was the winner of the Wick Poetry Undergraduate Competition. Currently, she is an assistant editor for Mid-American Review.