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Rabbit Revanchism
Mike Orlock


What must the rabbits think, I wonder,
looking out from within the bunker of my kitchen
at the garden fence finally erected
just for them. It’s a monstrous construction
they have driven me to after weeks of running battles
over lettuces and leeks, rhubarb and Swiss chard,
which they’ve happily helped themselves to,
nibbling to nubs, shoots, and stalks
that once showed promise of flowering
fully into bountiful produce. My garden,
once green and flourishing, has been reduced
to naked dirt and desuetude by their incessant chewing,
and no fake rubber snakes coiled menacingly
among the foliage, no chimes hanging from fishing lines
overhead, have deterred these ravening raiders
from their ruthless pillaging.

I imagine them hopping blithely to their next feed
only to find themselves staring in from without
through one hundred square feet of laminated,
reinforced mesh fencing—the finest
my money could buy from the local hardware—
at lush new re-plants (replacing those they’d devoured)
so deliciously close but out of reach. I want them
to feel the frustration I have felt, which drove me
to such desperation that my backyard now resembles
a demilitarized zone between warring countries.
I want them to suffer as I have suffered,
the ignominy of wanting something they can’t have,
knowing that the world has turned hard and mean.

I catch my breath and watch a rabbit approach
from the tangle of bridal wreath alongside the garage,
watch him hop, stop, sniff and stare at the wire
suddenly there before him. This is it, I think, that moment
he realizes his pitiful place in the scheme of things,
up against a superior intellect, an apex predator,
a top-of-the-food-chain warrior stud. I feel
almost sorry for the little long-eared fuzz-ball
in all his puny, hapless, pathetic rabbityness
until he stretches his body out thin as a stick
and wriggles under the wire lickety-split,
leaving me looney-tunes, channeling my inner Fudd.

© by Mike Orlock.
Used with the author’s permission.


Mike Orlock is a retired high school English and American History teacher who divides his time between the Chicago suburbs and a vacation home in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He has been married for 49 years to his high school sweetheart and inspiration, Liz, and greatly enjoys being grandfather to five beautiful granddaughters who keep him, he says, "jumping like a frog on a hot skillet." Mike's short stories, poems, and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications and he was Poet Laureate of Door County, Wisconsin from 2021 - 2023. Mike's latest book is Toes, Toads, Tulips & Turtles, released in fall of 2023.



Post New Comment:
not only well crafted but an utter delight - love the frustration, love the compassion
Posted 04/25/2024 09:00 PM
Bravo! The struggle is real. And futile.
Posted 04/23/2024 04:25 PM
Lori Levy:
Love the way this battle is presented--and how it ends with a sort of compassionate frustration.
Posted 04/21/2024 06:35 PM
I witness wild bunnies everywhere as I walk by houses with bountiful gardens wondering when their inner Elmer Fudd will be making their appearance! Thanks for sharing Mr. Fudd (LOL)
Posted 04/21/2024 05:06 PM
A poem of patience and perseverance. Been there.
Posted 04/21/2024 12:40 PM
I will Google Elmer.
Posted 04/21/2024 11:21 AM
Darrell Arnold:
The inner Fudd sings "I kiwwed da wabbit," which, of course he never did accomplish. I have pet rabbits right next to my garden in a bedroom-sized wire run with a built-in two-story condo. A solid two-inch-thick board floor covered in six inches of good dirt, lets them dig and tunnel without digging out, and the two-x-two wire-mesh walls contain them, though they diligently and incessantly explore for ways to escape. They provide organic material for my compost and live a privileged life, aside from imprisonment. I live in a high, barren desert land, and wild rabbits exist only in small numbers. No marauders here. I love your poem, Mike.
Posted 04/21/2024 08:35 AM
Wilda Morris:
The trials of a gardener! Yes, I know much of this experience!
Posted 04/21/2024 08:22 AM
Larry Schug:
We do fences inside fences. I think this poem conveys frustration and love of plants and, dare I say it, even a love of rabbits.
Posted 04/21/2024 07:55 AM
A wonderful poem in every way! And because its wrong to assume that the poet is writing about his own life, all I can say to the narrator is, I feel your frustration!
Posted 04/21/2024 07:20 AM

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