One Man's Profit
The rabbit jerks in ache and panic,
her foot captive in the snare.
The trapper is on his rounds
to check for fur and food.
Long ears fill with dry limbs
cracking under boots closing in.
Sometimes the jaws of fate
demand payment in installments.
As time gnaws, so too the rabbit
quickly chews off her foot
and frees herself from all but pain.
She flees into the shadows
to pay for the rest of her life.
The trapper curses his loss
but pins a chain to the foot,
to be forever linked to the one
who didn’t completely get away.
This, he says,
will bring me luck.
—Robert S. King. First published in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature