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Mat Riches: a poem

Lucky Foot We were mid-sentence and taking shortcuts

to her folks' place when she slammed on the brakes.

I was thinking my luck's finally in,

till her headlights fixed on a small movement:

a rabbit in the road, and oh the trace

of irony that leapt across her smile

when it flat-out refused the chance to dance

to the tune of her horn, or turn and shake

that cottontail in the full beam then dive

into the dark hedge. I was dispatched

to report in or shoo the thing along.

It lay there, a wet hand towel,

in the last throes of throwing in

its lot with the dusty tarmac. She made

me twist the bloody thing's neck – called that

much kinder than running it over.

It did one last Watusi in time

with the blinking emergency lights.

We left the scene behind,

let nature take its course.

I kept shaking for hours.

Mat Riches has had work published in Wild Court, The High Window and Finished Creatures. He co-runs Rogue Strands poetry evenings and has a pamphlet out with Red Squirrel Press in 2023. His blog is here, and you can find him on Twitter here: @matriches.

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