Once I lived on top of a hill
In a very nice town with a view of the ocean.
There were several houses on top of the hill.
They were all owned by one family
Who also owned a local beach resort.
My father was one of the sons of this family.
He was a chef in the resort's restaurant.
Everyone on the hill worked at the resort.
In the house furthest from mine
There was a man who had numerous rabbits
Outside in individual cages.
The rabbits had a view of the ocean
And were shaded by an apple tree.
Wild grapes grew on the hillside nearby.
The man worked in the kitchen at the beach resort
And did not speak much English.
He had a wife and a daughter.
The house they lived in was very small.
We had lived there for a while.
I did not understand why he had so many pets.
Summer days were long
And we occasionally tired of being unsupervised at the beach.
We returned to our parentless, unlocked homes for afternoon snacks and mischief.
Eventually we got around to opening the latches on the rabbit cage doors
And urging the rabbits to flee.
We did this several times over the course of one summer.
We simply opened the doors allowing them to make the choice:
Stay or go.
I have no recollection of what happened to the rabbits.
If the rabbits were smart they stayed in their cages.
My dog was a killer and would have torn them to shreds.
But let us turn our thoughts to the owner.
Here was an immigrant, possibly illegal, keeping the rabbits
To use as food for the restaurant or for his family.
How hard was it to approach my father-
The son of the resort owner,
The man who owned his house,
And gave him a job-
How hard was it to approach that man and tell him that
His daughters were messing with his rabbits?
Of course, he might not have said anything.
We never got in trouble.
One day we showed up to free the animals and there were individual locks
On all the rabbit cage doors.
And that was it.