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The Hound of Ulster
by Lawrence Schimel

The neighbor’s cat has caught a baby hare.
It’s still alive, dangling from her mouth
like a kitten while she plays with it.
As I advance she drops her prey
and disappears into the woods,
intimidated rather than guilt-stricken.
The hare, in shock, quivers
where it dropped, but as I near
it bolts. I chase after, to check
that it is not hurt, and cannot help
feeling like the hero Cuchulainn as a boy,
set to racing after rabbits until he
was fast enough to catch them, fast
enough to elude the blade of a sword.
My chase is not long. The hare
avoids me in quick, zig-zagging
bursts, but with my advantage
of cunning and height, I corner it
against the building’s implacable bricks.
And as I lift the small bundle of fur,
hold it, kicking in fear, against my chest,
I know that it is far too easy
to feel the conquering hero.

Lawrence Schimel 2014

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lawrence Schimel (New York, 1971) writes in both English and Spanish and has published over 100 books as author or anthologist, including two poetry chapbooks in English, Fairy Tales for Writers and Deleted Names (both from A Midsummer Night’s Press), and one poetry collection in Spanish, Desayuno en la cama (Egales). He has twice won the Lambda Literary Award (for First Person Queer and PoMoSexual: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality), as well as the Independent Publisher Book Award, the Spectrum Award, and other honors. His stories and poems have been widely anthologized in The Random House Treasury of Light Verse, The Random House Book of Science Fiction Stories, The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales, Chicken Soup for the Horse-Lover’s Soul 2, The Incredible Sestinas Anthology, Weird Tales from Shakespeare, and many others. He lives in Madrid, Spain where he works as a Spanish->English translator.

IMAGE: “Cuchulainn, the Hound of Ulster, in Battle” by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951).