They use a pronoun called I
all the time. It seems to hop around
But you can’t see it properly
not all of it. Not like you can see
ears or whiskers,
or paw or a sun shadow.
This is what Peter tells the flowerbed rabbit
who lives deep in dark leaves
that grow straight to a sky of apple-red flowers.
She can’t read.
He shows her the straight line
her paw scraped
on the rained-on damp
green-growing ground: that’s “I”; he puts
two short, stiff twigs – one each – same length –
at the line’s
head & foot: that’s their
Capital I. But it doesn’t MOOOVE,
she objects: those twigs, that scrape
will NEVER hop.
Peter’s ears twitch – but he has to agree. Goes on.
Struggles – how to explain: “I’s written representation”?
It’s a picture,
he says at last, it’s a stand-for
what lives in each of them, it’s common
to all of THEM – as the earth beneath our paws
is common to all of us (including them)
who run, hop, walk,
fall, lie, or die on it.
She doesn’t know what die is. It’s a word,
he says, like I is: nobody knows what it’s like
I die, you singular die, he dies, she dies, it dies,
You plural die, we die, they die –
He’s given her a lecture
when all he wanted to do
was follow the white
bobs of her tail
into the scarlet flowers.