I ran away from home when I was ten.
Walked a couple of days knowing better
than to hitch a ride. The pavement became
a gravel road lined with trailers. There
I saw a German Shepherd prancing along
the road, flipping a limp animal
over its head like a flag. Its owner came
calling Drop it! The man held the dog
by the collar and showed me a squirming pile
of fur behind a rock. The dog whined
and strained to get at them until the man
dragged him back inside. It seemed to me
there were many things like this, my mother
for example, at the ranger’s station begging
them to drain the lake. I knelt and lifted
each little rabbit into my backpack, their paws
wheeling the air. I nestled them between
my sandwiches, then walked to the city, pausing
only at the bridge where I tossed the pack
into the water. Then went home and let her
beat me for every day I was gone.
ELIZABETH HOOVER is a freelance writer. She received her MFA student at Indiana University. Her poetry has appeared in RATTLE, The Cimarron Review, The Asheville Poetry Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Fourth River. Her awards for poetry include the Poetry Center of Chicago's annual juried reading award, the Atlanta Review's International Publication Prize, and Winning Writers War Poetry Contest. She has reviewed books for the Los Angeles Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the New York Observer. Her reportage has appeared in Poets & Writers, American Heritage, and LIFE magazine.