Requiem for a Rabbit

Under a waxing gibbous moon, I began to dig a shallow grave. The shovel struck roots. I cursed the invasive pines that spread across my yard through a system of great gnarled roots. A commotion sounded by the shed. I had to work quickly; my dog was rolling on the carcass. The early morning hours were becoming a list of the last thing I need right nows.

It had been a long shift on my feet that included overtime. I couldn’t wait to get home, let the dog out, clean up, and let my back meet my mattress with the most marvelous oh ya ever; that’s not how the night ended.

I arrived home, I let the dog out, and I followed my flashlight as it cruised across spikes of freshly cut grass until it glared at the laid-out body of Bunny. A gasp of denial fell from my lips onto the wretched creature. Ms. B had led me directly to her proudest moment. She sat beside her kill with a panting doggy smile.

For the past few years, I had enjoyed the sporadic appearances of the wild Florida cotton tail rabbit. Bunny!, I would exclaim when the fuzzy ball of sweetness appeared on my lawn in the evening, or when I came upon the brown softy in the morning. I spoke to Bunny, took pictures of Bunny, and generally adored the little guy. Ms. B did not adore the little guy. Ms. B growled ferociously at Bunny through the screened porch.

Apparently, the ex had mowed the lawn but didn’t think much about Ms. B as she dug around the shed; he didn’t realize she was after something. if I had been home I would have known exactly what my Pitt-boxer mix was up to, and I would have played interference on behalf of the creature who sought sanctuary under the shed.

Chunky as she is, B must have been able to get under the shed and corner the poor thing. The moon shone in Bunny’s black eye. The head was undisturbed, and the large pink ears remained perfect but there were striations about the body, matted fur from pressure and saliva; in the dim light of that gibbous moon, I couldn’t tell if dried blood marked the rabbit. Ms. B must have shaken Bunny like a toy until its neck snapped. I couldn’t afford to spend time in sadness, the death stench was in full bloom, and there would be no oh ya until I had completed my obligation as a gravedigger.

Although I had donned work gloves, I couldn’t pick Bunny up; too creepy. I grabbed a rake and tried to pick up the rabbit. The rake pushed against the rabbit and caused its eyelid to squish closed. The tongs of the rake were face down, so I had to turn it around and with the shovel, grab at the rabbit like a claw. Bunny was still floppy and it rolled as I tried to keep it at the end of the garden implements three feet in front of me. When I reached the hole, I separated the shovel from the rake and the rabbit fell head first into the hole, butt end toward the moon; it was most undignified. A deeper hole would be needed, but for now, this shallow plot would have to do. I began to toss dirt over Bunny as Ms. B hovered. B began grabbing at the rabbit, I tried to shoo her away but she was fixated. To add to the indignity, B tore off Bunny’s cotton tail. I dumped more dirt on Bunny as B grabbed at Bunny’s foot. I shoveled more dirt onto the mound before I wrangled B into the house for a bath. I toweled her off the best I could and, cleaned her mouth with doggy toothpaste. After cleaning myself up, I went to sleep with a wet dog at the end of my bed.

The rabbit requiem continued the next morning. With B inside under house arrest, I searched out a spot for a deeper grave. A creekside burial might be nice, but when I went to the creek to scout a location, the vine-covered ground was difficult to dig into. Even more problematic was the bee the size of a hummingbird that zipped by my head. I accepted its warning. Bees terrify me. I scrammed.

When I googled bees, I decided it must be a giant honey bee. So, no creekside burial. I dug a hole next to where Bunny was already buried. It didn’t take long to dig bunny up. In the daylight, flies found their way to the carcass. Again, I had to dig quickly. Bunny’s once pretty brown fur was covered in dirt. I swatted the shovel at the flies but they were undaunted, they would swarm and buzz until I returned Bunny to the ground.

To be certain Ms. B couldn’t dig Bunny up, I dug three feet down and placed a stone on top of the bunny, then a dried coconut on top of the stone. I filled the hole and marked it with a shepherd’s hook.

I miss Bunny.

Photo by Frank Cone on


      • Yes. Bigger problem is the tree huggers not understanding nature is out of balance for the subdivision creating a false ecology. They also call animal control on seeing a fox in the hood. I welcome foxes. Hawks too but hawks prefer now to hunt the open fields, which “cute” little pufftail rats have abandoned in favor of the abundance of unnatural ground cover in suburbia. The destructive creatures (rabbits) are fine in normal populations but with natural predators missing, they ravage flower beds and vegetable gardens and undermine patios, walkways and foundations with their warrens.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s