Fall 2021

SYLVILAGUS PISSOFFICUS VILLANELLAVUS

By William Snyder

A cottontail’s fluffy brain weighs 12 grams, about
the heft of a couple of ripe, Concord grapes.
But rabbits are smarter than fruit, their IQ’s around

the 95s at least, and I hear they could easily spout
E = mc2 and explain it if they could talk. They can generate
six kits a month—very horny brainy. 12 grams. Bound

to cause a ton of trouble, and relentlessly hound (me)—
my spirea, holly, potentilla, though my backyard, fortunately,
is fenced tight. But rabbits, with their brainy IQs, have found

ways to sneak inside—their slights of paw astounding.
Leave just an inch beneath any kind of fence or gate
and they’ll squeeze beneath—their grams flouting

any resolve to bar them. One, a big gray buck, arouses
my anger when he, with his hippidy, cutesy pliés,
hops about with his IQ’y, fruity-eyed babe, and mounts (her),

then marshals his harem into the alley, scoping out
my failures (like Fudd) to secure the gate.
At just 12 grams of grapes, the rabbit brain rouses
my ire. But I’ll trap all those IQy fruits. Don’t doubt (it).

WEIGHING FARGO

After 23 years, you want to like this place—at least
you want to try. And it’s not difficult
sometimes, like this morning, the walk
to work, the park like a forest meadow still,
even in October, the ash and beech,
and that clump of evergreens like deep green
spires near the footbridge. And walking into
the sun, grass blades crystalized,
and leaves too—red and gold, and still some
green—just two light snows so far.

Bright and calm, and it felt less cold than
Too Tall said it would on his morning weather.
Or this afternoon, a brisk south wind
blowing that same snow here and there—
gauzy, Antarctic-like, like in penguin films,
and even at 19-but-feels-like-1, it was just,
fresh, and brisk—not the finality of
below the donut, (as Tom says).
Or fucking freezing, or cold as shit (as I say).

So my brain did a sort of calculus, pictured
a giant scale—two huge pans hung
from a beam, leveling screws adjusted,
plumb bob true. And in the right hand pan
I loaded October-day-with-hoar-frost-
in-sunlight, then crabapple bloom, brief-
eruptions- of tulip, hummingbird moths,
Black Capped Chickadees, heavy-blanket-
sleeping, very-late-twilight-on-mid-summer-
nights, and early morning suns.
In the left-hand pan I piled frostbite, alley-
snow-plowed-into-a-Maginot, black-iced-
sidewalks, tailgating-drivers-on-
intersection-slicks, 10-inch-wet-snow-
shoveling. And in my mind’s eye, I watched
the pans dip and rise, slowly, left, right,
the beam squeaking a little with every
seesaw up, and down. Dip, rise, left, right—
then gently, lightly, precisely, and in
the tiny space remaining in the left hand
pan, I placed a seven-month-winter.


William Snyder has published poems in Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, and Southern Humanities Review among others. He was the co-winner of the 2001 Grolier Poetry Prize; winner of the 2002 Kinloch Rivers Chapbook competition; The CONSEQUENCE Prize in Poetry, 2013; the 2015 Claire Keyes Poetry Prize; Tulip Tree Publishing Stories That Need To Be Told 2019 Merit Prize for Humor; and Encircle Publications 2019 Chapbook Contest. He teaches writing and literature at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN. 

Fall 2021