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Image for The Rabbit King
Adapted from a photo by Bryce Kroll

The Rabbit King

At the bottom of the garden lives the king of rabbits. The one cats can’t catch and the fattest moon’s light doesn’t frighten. The one I see when I go out in the middle of the night to escape my dreams.

At the bottom of the garden, the rabbit king shows me his profile, silent on his haunches. His ears aren’t very large for a rabbit; silhouetted, they suggest a crown. For a while, I pretended not to notice.

The dreams and the rabbit king appeared around the same time, but correlation doesn’t matter. Other things happened then, things I don’t remember, things I do recall, sad things, dangerous things, things to which I overreacted. Or so I am told.

I awake in stillness, tearing myself from dreams as though clawing through wet paper. I sit up, absent covers, and the darkness and the furniture oppress me, encircle me like knotted tendrils of brain. I run, seeking air and the milky light of stars.

Grass slips cool and green beneath my fee—I feel the green. Or maybe smell it.

It seems natural to follow the sloping lawn. Why resist? It seems natural to go as far as I can. And when I get to the bottom, there sits the rabbit, naturally, and my heartbeat slows. I accept a seat on the bench—his court—and I tell him everything, though of course we never speak.

Copyright © 2008 by Maryanne Stahl


Maryanne Stahl

Maryanne Stahl author of novels The Opposite Shore and Forgive the Moon, lives in Thunderbolt, Georgia. Visit her blog at:

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