Paul struck a matchstick
on the box’s striker strip
and it flared to life
with a hiss.

He moved the flaming matchstick
to the open lantern
as he turned a knob
that allowed kerosene to escape.

The manifold ignited
and the barn brightened up
with false dawn
and the horses woke.

In the straw strewn floor
of the first stall
a rabbit trembled
caught inside the barn.

Its smallness confirmed
when the horse rose to its hooves
carefully avoiding the rabbit
though its tail brushed it.

Paul moved to the second stall
leaving a getaway open
for the rabbit
to the barn door and natural light.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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