In elementary school 
I heard that feeding zebra doves raw rice 
makes them explode. 

If you feed an animal what it will eat 
sometimes you kill it. 

But it could live 
in your imagination the way 
children dream of war. 

BB gun pellets sat in the grass 
like gecko eggs. 

We slipped them in our pockets 
like tiny parents waiting  
for something brutal to hatch. 

At night we stared at moths and wanted 
to beat their bodies to the ground. 

We knew only small bads. 
We couldn’t believe 
how big tadpoles grew.

Knowing what’s wrong
is like knowing your mother. 

Good thing we laid in her lap. 
Good thing she let us sleep.

Rachel Tanaka was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is a recent graduate from Creighton University where she studied English and Education. She has work forthcoming in Vagabond City Lit