T H E G I R L W H O G A V E B I R T H T O R A B B I T S ( S U R R E Y , 1 7 2 6 )
Mary Toft knew how it felt with child –
three birthed, one dead – but in the field,
heavy with her fourth, up starts a hare.
The effect is more than Mary can bear:
the rabbit all day long ran in my head.
That August, a large lump of flesh bled
from her body, and by October: rabbits,
litters of them, enough for every Cabinet
of Wonder in London. But was it fair or fake?
Methought they there a burrow tried to make.
Mary, Mother Incarnate, carny
of the most marvelous yarn –
the rabbits all day long ran in my head –
snared hare, lapful of lapins bred
in her Welsh rarebit, follicular,
cuniculous, mad with rabbit fever,
rabid with fervor to birth, quaint
trickster, canny coney, cunning cunt.
Heidi Czerwiec is a poet and essayist who lives in Minneapolis. She is the editor of North Dakota Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary North Dakota Poets, and the author of the forthcoming collection Maternal Imagination.
H E I D I C Z E R W I E C
H E R M E N E U T I C C H A O S J O U R N A L
Copyright © 2014-2017, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal. All rights reserved.