My mother would skin a rabbit
But gut them she would not.
(That fell to our lodger, Ken
Who later hanged himself from a tree).
The country women brought them in
Laying them out on the market trestle
Like bodies dragged from rubble,
Brown eyes still open.
A slit in the fur opened them up for inspection.
My mother would look for signs of shot,
Black pellets spotting the flesh not good
She wanted her meat snared or ferretted
In Fishy Lowe’s they hung from hooks
small buckets attached to their heads
alongside hares – too upper class for us.
Or skinned they lay on the marble slab
Headless like Saturn’s children
But they made good stews and cheap
That saw us through the dark days.
After chitterlings, tripe, brawn. faggots, pig’s trotters,
rabbits were luxury.
Finding the heart was prize.
Like finding sixpence in the Christmas pudding
You’d chase it floating on the gravy
through a wrecked cathedral arch of ribs.
But rabbits do not have wishbones.
And as for feet
They were dismembered.