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March 26, 2020

photo-51Last night I played a game online with two people I knew and three I’d never met before, and it was more fun than I expected. This morning I got my poem-a-day and it seemed to comment on the experience. Like rabbits, many of us have been feeling that “there is no ease” and that we must “linger the dark.” If you’ve ever had a pet rabbit, as I have, you’ll see how apt the comparison is:

The rabbit has a funny set of tools. He jumps.
or kicks. muffled and punching up. In pose
the rabbit knows, each side of his face to whom.
he should belong. He hobbles and eyes. This
is the dumb bun allegiance. This bunny, even dry and fluff
is aware, be vicious. will bite down your finger stalk.
will nick you good in the cheery web of your palm.
Those claws are good for traction. and defense.
This bunny, forgive him. There is no ease. His lack
of neck is all the senses about a stillness.
stuck in a calm. until household numbers upend
his floor. until the family upsets the nest
and traipses off. Then stuck in a bunny panic.

We each stab at gratitude. In our nubbing, none
of us do well. We jump. We kangaroo. We soft seeming,
scatter and gnaw. Maybe the only way forward
is to sleep all day. one eye open. under the sink.
Like the rabbit, we could sit in our shit.
Chew at the leaf of others’ dinner. Make
of each tile on the floor a good spot to piss. No,
it doesn’t get much better. And like the rabbit
we do not jump well from heights. We linger the dark
until it is safe to come out. To offer a nose.
a cheek for touch. the top of a crown. Nothing
makes us happier than another rabbit.

by Francine J. Harris

If “we each stab at gratitude” every day, maybe we can get in the habit of looking for small mercies and appreciate them when they come along.

Even though “nothing/makes us happier than another rabbit” I hope that if you don’t have anyone with you in your burrow you have a pet or a friend to check in with every day.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2020 11:49 am

    I did the same thing last night! A few of my writing group friends and I played Scrabble online, and let me tell you, that desperation to get rid of all your tiles at the end led to the discovery of words I didn’t know were real 😄

    I love that the poet turns “kangaroo” into a verb. It really is a unique movement that isn’t quite captured by any other verb.

    • March 30, 2020 10:01 am

      I loved that too, kangaroo as a verb. It gets across how big we are, compared to rabbits, and how much more our careening and lunging around could be destructive.

      • March 30, 2020 1:22 pm

        Ha! Reminds me of a joke: what do you get if you cross a kangaroo with an elephant?

        Giant holes all over Australia.

  2. March 26, 2020 4:55 pm

    How fun you got to play game online with friends and a few strangers! Love the poem. I do rather feel a bit rabbity right now, but trying hard to not lose myself in worry since that does no one any good. Thanks for sharing!

    • March 30, 2020 9:59 am

      Worry does no good, true, but continuing to pay attention to what’s going on in the world is important. I keep reading jokes about eating bats, which I think is a kind of xenophobic response and sidetracking us from the actual problem, which is deforestation.

  3. March 29, 2020 10:23 pm

    I like this poem. “Sleep all day, one eye open…” tempting to do that. But in finding things to be grateful for we find ways to keep on keeping on.

    • March 30, 2020 9:56 am

      I veer crazily between trying to feel grateful and feeling like a prey animal. It seems like the emergency is taking up everyone’s attention and they’re not even protesting when the government does horrifying things (like the attorney general’s attempt to circumvent habeus corpus and the “temporary” suspension of EPA rules).

      • March 30, 2020 10:36 am

        Oh God, I know. This administration is so evil, sneaking in awful things at a time like this.

        • March 30, 2020 10:41 am

          The president and his cronies have used distraction as a method of doing what they want since January 2017; it’s just that now the claims of emergency let them do so much more.

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