Looking For What Is Lost

Leah Browning


The neighbor girls bring over

a plastic trash can full of bunnies.


Not favorite rabbits from childhood, 

wilted from too much love and saliva,


but live baby bunnies, eight of them,

huddled close together in the bottom


of a trash can.  The two sisters turn

the container on its side and let the bunnies


loose on my lawn, where they eat grass

and twitch their noses, like bunnies


in cartoons.  One of the girls tells me

that a few days earlier, one of the babies


disappeared in the woods behind their house. 

The sisters chased him for hours,


but they were not able to find him.  The girl

telling the story lifts her pants at the knee


and points to her bare shin.  Poison ivy,

she says.  We didn’t know it was there.  


The other sister shrugs.  She, too, is wearing

pants in 90-degree weather.  Later that night,


I sit on my back porch where it’s breezy

and cool.  I drink beer and look at the stars,


thinking of the smallest baby bunny, who fell

asleep in the palm of my hand. 


Now I stare into the woods hopefully,

half-expecting to see two eyes,


the twitch of a baby bunny nose.  He’d appear,

the lost one, first of a long, slow, shy procession


of lost creatures, on their way home at last.  There’d

be stuffed animals dropped from strollers, dogs


and cats who slipped out sliding-glass doors,

the boy who vanished last November. 


They’ve been huddled together, I imagine, waiting

for someone to come and lead them all back.


I am hoping to see a flash of white bunny tail,

moonlight falling on gray fur and blond hair.


But the woods are dark and impassive, and no

matter how hard I look, there are no signs of life.


Leah Browning is the author of two short nonfiction books for teens and pre-teens.  Her fiction, poetry, essays, and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Saint Ann's Review, Queen's Quarterly, 42opus, Literary Mama, Blood Orange Review, and Autumn Sky Poetry, in several anthologies, and as part of a series of postcards from the program Poetry Jumps Off the Shelf.  Leah lives in Ontario.