The Rabbit by Barry Ergang

Once it was in raw November...or October? Can’t remember--
I was worn and badly wasted from a long day at the store
and I dozed off, no doubt drooling (I’m not kidding, I’m not fooling:
work that day was really grueling--puling patrons, I footsore),
while my love and her big brother called on friends they’d seen before.
        ’Twas just a social, heretofore.

Next day my love told me, “Honey, I am gonna get a bunny.
My brother’s friends raise troops of rabbits, troops enough to make a corps!”
I stared at her, my vision’s habit, then declared, “There’ll be no rabbit.”
At that she struck my rib--she jabbed it--elbowed it till it was sore.
“It’s cute! They’ll give it free,” she cried. “You know that bunnies I adore.”
        Thus my plea she did ignore.

I bound the rib and, vocally heated, gazed at love and still entreated,
reminding her that rabbits breed, they spawn like grunion on the shore.
“If with pet you must cohabit, why’s it have to be a rabbit?
Why not sea-life? Hermit crabs fit...Tuna! You’ll get albacore!”
Her look spoke volumes, drilling through me, but from curses she forbore.
        “I’ll have one bunny. Say no more.”

Hence in a December snowy, when the wind was cold and blowy,
my love and I betook ourselves, to sate her antic leporine chore,
to brother’s friends named John and Tony, pleasant guys and never phony,
whilst I continued to be groany right up to their house’s door.
Up the icy path we went to house with windows rimed with hoar.
        My love was smiling smiles galore.

Then inside we were admitted, where John and Tony’s two dogs flitted--
Trev and Raleigh welcomed us with canine capers at the fore.
How they frolicked, Trev and Raleigh, greeting party ever jolly,
eager to begin the folly that brought my love back to their door.
They leaped about, devotion dogged, licking hands for their encore.
        “Dogs!” our hosts snapped. “Calm restore!”

John and Tony soon besought us, and our custom long had taught us,
to take refreshment, eat and drink--and neither grub nor glass forswore.
A tray of snacks they then extended and, lest they should be offended,
to our dinner we appended nosh and beverage furthermore.
“Have some coffee?” they inquired. “Some tea, perhaps?--Here, have a S’more!”
        My love craved harey herbivore.

So belowground we were taken, to the cellar not forsaken
by our hosts who here bred rabbits--here, I say, not Baltimore.
My love rushed forward, ever eager (penned-up creatures do intrigue her)
to rabbit cage with space so meager over which her heart did pour,
and snatched the fair and radiant rabbit whose legs jerked like a semaphore.
        We named her Twitchley, not Lenore.

Well, by gum! by gosh! dagnabbit! My love finally got her rabbit,
and with it home we hied to give it warmth from weather’s biting frore.
There encaged the bunny huddled; my love’s soul was liquid puddled,
for with quaking, nervous bunny she’d have cuddled on the floor.
“I’m your mother, baby,” she said. “Come to me!” she did implore.
        ’Twouldn’t be for two days more.

Soon accustomed and ensconced in her own room--here, not Wisconsin--
Twitchley romped and rocketed around the place--how she did soar!
She’d hide at length behind some clutter; love and I would often mutter
that she’d speed as slick as butter to hideyhole behind the door
where we discovered heaps of fibers from the carpet that she tore.
        She gnawed the carpet, never floor.

She was calm--the Bunlai Lama--distant from the human drama,
and when we moved her to the kitchen she made not a single roar.
Apples, pears and hay she munched, or tasty carrot neatly crunched--
within her cage intently hunched (the cage was made in Singapore)--
ate her peanuts, cherries, popcorn, lettuce that she gently tore--
        ate just enough but never more.

Next she spied her stuffed pink piglet, shook her scut--oh Lord, did wiggle it!--
leaped from cage and circled toy quite like a fearless picador.
Then she mounted, vibrant, humping--clutching, avid, swiftly pumping;
little rabbit feet a-thumping, rump a-bump ’gainst kitchen floor--
chieftainess atop her subject, dominant, sans pinafore,
        as dainty as a stevedore.

Twitchley’s life? A bowl of cherries or, I should say, bunny berries;
with them daily she got richer, pile by pile beside the door.
Satisfied from all her humping, Twitch withdrew and squatted, dumping.
Once again I started grumping to my love about the chore
of picking up fresh rabbit poop that unimproved the room’s decor.
        She sighed, grabbed broom and swept the floor.

Oy, gevult! They kept on coming, pouring from that rabbit’s plumbing
like cluster bombs, a mass so vast--enough to sink Corregidor!
While I trod there, nearly snapping, again I heard the faintest tapping
as of rabbit slyly crapping pellets on the kitchen floor.
“My love,” said I, “my darling...honey--get a vacuum, I implore.”
        From cork suggesting I forbore.

Thrice while love and I were talking on the phone, our Twitch went stalking,
saw the line connecting handset to the base and then made war:
chewed the wire--with teeth she crumped it--hopped away, the little strumpet.
Sudden silence made me trumpet, “You there? Can’t hear you anymore!”
Thus my love picked up extension, our discussion to restore.
        Quoth the rabbit, “Sever cord.”

Yes, I know I seem curmudgeon, that my story’s full of dudgeon,
but watching my love hugging Twitch became contentment’s metaphor.
Their snuggle sessions were terrific--love with smile so beatific,
the kitchen chamber so pacific as rabbit she caressed and more:
crooned Twitch nicknames, sang weird songs--my comic love, the troubadour.
        My love and Twitchley I adore.

So, you see, for all my drab wit, I too came to love that rabbit.
Like my love she is the sweetest daughter mother ever bore.
Whenever worries had me sweating, I’d engage in bunny-petting
and sure enough my awful fretting sailed the creek without an oar.
I had my love and Twitch to steer me from disquiet’s roiling shore.
        Precious angels--evermore.

Former Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine and former First Senior Editor of Mysterical-e, Barry Ergang’s poetry, fiction and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, print and electronic. A Derringer Award winner from the Short Mystery Fiction Society, some of his work is available at Smashwords and Amazon.


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