It’s taken 18 years to learn
the mechanics of my American manhood.

So, while Jake continues to moan
like a snared rabbit—
blood smeared into fur
—I avoid looking
into his face, as if weakness
is a communicable disease.

I think about hunting. I think about watching
a rabbit gnaw its foot
free from violent steel lips lurking in the leaves.

From what I’ve collected of his story,
it’s about a girl and a boy

who isn’t him. That may be the problem.

Animals will do anything to survive.

Sometimes, I press a steak knife into my leg
at dinner to see if I can cut myself.

Some rabbits have stumps where steel lips
loved too well. My legs never

But, Jake. Jake is thrashing in the wake
of the third girl in five months—a feral repetition.

The rabbits are wailing and running, shaking and chewing.
And, somehow, Jake will chew his way out of this.

I read somewhere that rabbits have a four minute
memory. So, I wonder, while Jake sniffles into a
blueberry scone,
what’s his excuse?

About the Author: Kamden Hilliard is a student at Sarah Lawrence College where he studies creative writing and education. He is an alumnus of the Scholastic Art and Writing and YoungArts programs where he won a gold medal in poetry and level one recognition for his creative nonfiction, respectively. Kamden is also a 2012 Davidson Laureate in Literature. He is also a poetry editor with the Adroit Journal and has been published (or has forthcoming work) in Emerge Literary Journal, Crack The Spine, The Orange Room Review, and many other places. If Kamden wasn’t writing, he’d be very sad—or a scientist.