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What Purpose Does A Rabbit Have | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

The same nightmare woke my father
every night for years.
He had no idea what it meant
and so he wrote the story down
and saved the note and hoped
some day he’d understand it.
But a note like that
can be misplaced.

Decades later Father
found the note
in a drawer of socks
he hadn’t worn in years.
He found it underneath
his old glass eye the night
Mother came back on the Harley
to “make their marriage work.”

He reminded Mother they had
been divorced for years
and then, despite her tears,
he told her, “After all this time,
we both know now that you
were gone before you left.
But now you’re back so
let me tell you all about

the nightmare I’ve had every night
since you took the bike and left.
I wrote the story down to tell the kids
when they grew up but they ran off
before I had a chance to ask them
if they knew what my dream might mean.
You’d like the kids. They’re pretty smart.
Anyway my note says this:

‘What purpose does a rabbit have
other than as prey?
What difference does a rainbow make
in a rabbit’s day?’
You tell me now you love me,
always have and always will.
But the kids are gone forever
so take the Harley now and go.”

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