I hear a shotgun crack and find mother

at the woodpile—she’s shot another rat snake.

“But,” I say, “they keep the rabbit population down?”

“I like rabbits,” is her reply. “But your garden,” I say.

“Nothing anyone can do about that,” she sighs.


Here, it’s rabbits everywhere, all the time.

It’s like my brain conducts this leporine improvisation

of a to-and-fro mind, of a heart running for cover,

of jumpy, interrogative eyes.


When I mow the fields they watch me, race by my side.

When I search the night for satellites standing mother’s

living garden, there’s always one or two bunnies there,

piebald hearts beneath a half-stoned moon, stunned.


Rabbits manage nests from their own hair mixed with

scratched out soil. There’s one by the split elm, another

in the clover beneath a pram carrying eight kinds of mint.


Mom finds a new nest beneath the Muhly grass’s

pink pencil-troll head. We count nine newborn rabbits

pulsing as one like the heart Kate and I watched together

on a sonogram screen in a small, dim basement room.


I walk away and stand between two sunflowers tall as me.

I’ve caught them at the end of their conversation. One

sunflower says, “I am greater than or equal to the lack

and luck is weather that permits my red begonias.”


I count seven sunflowers, heads perfect size to be arranged

in a vase for an anniversary, but I let their necks hang free,

bent down toward one another, yellow, green, and brown.


Eric Roy is the author of All Small Planes (Lily Poetry Review Press 2021), which received the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominations for its hybrid writing. His recent work can be found or is forthcoming at Bennington Review, Fence, Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Salamander, Third Coast, and elsewhere.


Eric Roy

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