William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Rabbits in a Row

Back again early this morning to Goose Lake and environs, where the fading wildflowers and drying grass are among the first signs of summer. Even without rain, the lake itself seems not to recede, its waters sealed tight beneath a heavy layer of algae and scum. All that’s heard is the deep bellowing of a bullfrog, his voice as loud as any dock worker or boatman. A humid atmosphere, the sky overcast, rabbits in the path watching our approach: here are three, lined up in a perfect row in ascending order, facing the same direction, baby, mother, father. They are in profile, evenly spaced, with just a few feet between them. They allow us to come quite near. They want to see us; they are almost sure we will do them no harm; then at the last moment they are startled away. A full-sized doe waits and watches in like manner. She knows us better than we know ourselves; this is certain, because it’s obvious by her expression that she knows all, and that she knows it as the earth knows the sky, and as grace knows love. The great black walnuts are now in full leaf, with scarcely a speck of dust on them. In the dim light, the grove is enchantment itself. Where it gives way to cottonwoods, the scent changes to a sticky river smell that clings to our hair and clothes. We remember the poplars we planted on the farm almost forty years ago, when we too were rabbits in a row, and counting.

July 9, 2020

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Categories: New Poems & Pieces

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