Hare by Lance Lee

lopes as only
Hare can, all
fits and starts,
ears sky-sieves
for the whoosh
wings and clenched
claws make
as death stoops
towards him—
but not today,
the sky
bluebare serene
in the heat, the
great redtails
who carry death
on their shoulders
perched on a high
leafless limb to
sentinel at noon:
their eyes rake
the cliffsides
for mouse shadow
a mile away.
Nor can Hare
stop his eyes’
search for coyote’s
earth-colored pelt,
or his nose
twitching, tongue
lapping the air
for his rank smell
though the brush
is still.
He leaps
into sage and
monkey flower
and ceanothus
footed by burning
indian paint-brush:
the path shimmers
with absence—and
something infused
with his life:
imagine
we shy at shadows,
hearts racing, that
our eyes tear
at the light,
or a distant
feathered thunder
teases our ears:
then, perhaps,
we will understand
Hare. He knows
how death’s shadow
spreads its wings
within that light
until that light
is gone with a
gut-wrenching
scream and a
blow like a door
with rusted hinges
slammed shut…


Lance Lee
Lance Lee’s poetry is published widely in American and English journals. Homecomings (2015), his sixth poetry book, includes artwork by Ron Sanford; Transformations (2013), combines interpretative art with his poetry. Seasons of Defiance (2010), placed as a finalist in the 8th National USA Book Awards. He has also published The Death and Life of Drama and A Poetics for Screenwriters, plus plays and novels. A past Creative Writing Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, his home is in Los Angeles although he spends several months annually with his family in London. He was instrumental in forming the State Park system in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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