“Vance and I just decided to leave something for the troops,” Del said. “The latest Mad Rabbit.”
“What in heaven's name is a mad rabbit?”
“Do you believe it, Vance, she never heard of us.” Del feigned insult. ”Carol, we were famous.”
“What do you mean, ‘were’? You’re pretty famous now.”
“We were famous in Port Orchard, Del,” Vance said mildly. “That isn’t exactly big time.”
“Port Orchard?” Carol said.
“What’s Mad Rabbit!”
“I’m Mad,” Vance said, “and he’s Rabbit.”
“As in March Hare. We started a minor revival of Lewis Carroll all by ourselves.”
Carol flung up her hands in resignation. “Del, I guess you’ll let me in on the secret when you get good and ready, right?”
Del started to explain. “We used to have a company when we were kids. It still exists; we just haven’t done anything with it since—before grad school, I guess, huh, Vance?”
“Reality is a lot more interesting,” Vance said. He pulled a chair around and got Carol to sit down.
Del grinned. “If you call quark chemistry reality.”
Vance took heed of Carol’s impatience, and, as usual, brought Del back on track. “We used to write computer-game software,” he said. “Our company was called Mad Rabbit Productions. It did pretty well. In Port Orchard, we were ‘local kids make good’ for a while.”
THE PASSION OF THE MAD RABBIT
While the carrots sang arias into the holy earth
and the snowmen turned into bronze weathervanes,
I underwent a removal, tearing my skin off me,
plucking out the eyes like Ping-Pong balls,
squashing the shriek of my heart like a phone off the hook –
and as these phenomena occurred, a fool walked straight into me.
He was named Mr. Rabbit. My own voice spoke to people,
anyone, friends, strangers on the street, saying,
“I am Mr. Rabbit.” The flesh itself had become mad
and at three mirrors this was confirmed.
Next it was bad Friday and they nailed me up
like a scarecrow and many gathered eating popcorn, carrying
hymnals or balloons. There were three of us there,
though they appeared normal. My ears, so pink like powder,
were nailed. My paws, sweet as baby mittens, were nailed.
And my two fuzzy ankles. I said, “Pay no attention. I am crazy.”
But some giggled and some knelt. My oxygen became tiny
and blood rang over and over in my head like a bell.
The others died, the luck of it blurting through them.
I could not. I was a silly broken umbrella
and oblivion would not kiss me. For three days it
Then they took me down and had a conference.
It is Easter, they said, and you are the Easter Bunny.
Then they built a great pyre of kindling and laid me on top
and just before the match they handed me a pink basket
of eggs the color of the circus.
Fire lit, I tossed the eggs to them, Hallelujah I sang to the eggs,
singing as I burned to nothing in the tremor of the flames.
My blood came to a boil as I looked down the throat of madness,
but singing yellow egg, blue egg, pink egg, red egg, green egg,
Hallelujah, to each hard-boiled-colored egg. _
In place of the Lord,
a fool has risen.
Anne Sexton, 1976