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October 13, 2014 | Poetry

A request to the new tenant

Ilan Mochari

A request to the new tenant photo

A request to the new tenant

Walls bare but for paint & hooks, floors bare but for stains & nails,
we leave insides as we find them; yet of neighbors & gardens
                           we have less control. still, you need not
                                         care for the backyard plants
                           the landlord’s mom keeps the weeds in check;
but in the shrubs there is a rabbit who comes to live here
every spring; i know not if it is a she or a he.
                                         that’s a shame – for i fancied
                           myself its secret caretaker

i brought it peeled organic baby carrots & bowls
of chilled spring water & watched its small head of light brown fur
                           bob up & down as it hopped from its
                                         hiding space in the shrubs
                           and pounced upon the meal i’d prepared;
it never asked me to come inside or judged me for not
extending an invitation. i imagine it was
                                         in the shrubs four years ago
                           when i first moved here, newly divorced.

Was it in the shrubs, two years ago, when i first slept
with the man i’m now moving in with? i imagine
                           it was in the shrubs on the june night
                                         when my stepfather called.
                           late for him to be calling, i thought;
strange for him, not mom, to be calling. one day later we
buried her. and when i came back here i found my rabbit
                           in front of the house, as if it knew
                                         everything i’d been through

are your folks alive? i thought so. you look young. i don’t mean
to dump my life story on your lap. but if there’s one thing
                           i want you to do when i’m gone, it’s –
                                         you know. and it’s fine if
                           the carrots are less than organic
and if the water is straight from the tap. and please don’t get
alarmed if you see me in the shrubs some sunday, either
                           with my guy or on my own. i am
                           prematurely nostalgic

for my old pal, the light brown rabbit. and i just want it
or her or him to know that this farewell is not for good

 

image: Tara Wray


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