The rabbits come in dozens it seems. Nothing one minute, invasion the next. They crouch in the grass like tiny statues, gray fur flecked with white. Cottontails. Leaf-ears at attention. Waiting. Kits, short for kittens, now called bunnies, as if kitten is not cute enough for the tiniest of these rabbits. Bunny, diminutive of the Scottish bun, a nickname for a pet rabbit. Also, slang for a young, attractive woman. She’s a real bunny. A male rabbit is a buck, a female a doe. Before mating, the buck chases the doe until she turns and boxes at him with her front paws. They crouch and stare at each other. Face off until one or the other leaps into the air. Leap, leap, leap, come together.
No matter how long I sit on the back porch watching, I’ve never seen any of the rabbits mate. Yet there are so many of them, dotting my yard like some kind of Disney movie. Bunnies hop through the grass, nibble and twitch, go still as stone when birds dive bomb the shrubs. My child, who is too sensitive, who moves worms off the sidewalk and carries stink bugs outside, tells me that a doe can produce up to ten litters a year, with up to twelve bunnies in each litter. Sometimes the mother eats her litter if she is too stressed and fearful of predators, or she just eats the runt because it’s going to die anyway. My daughter tells me all of this matter-of-factly, like a little old woman familiar with the cycle of life, rather than the ten-year-old that she is. A phantom elbow or foot punches me from within, the ghost of an ache low in my abdomen.
Giving birth can be painless and it can be full of pain. It can be easy or difficult or anywhere in between. You can give birth in a sterilized hospital room or in a kiddie pool in a living room to the dulcet voice of your doula or midwife. You can give birth in the back of a car, on a bathroom floor, in a field, in an elevator, on the side of the road, in a mall, a forest, a library, an airplane, at prom, or in a Walmart parking lot. The list goes on and on and on. While giving birth you may say or hear the following: birth plan, epidural, fuck, breech, Pitocin, I don’t want this, breathe, I’m sorry, push, no, in distress, crowning, don’t touch me. You may not hear or say any of these things. But at the end you will have a baby or you won’t, and what you feel will depend on which.