Peter Rabbit in Rehab by Al Ortolani

Peter Rabbit in Rehab

October ends
with a rabbit foot on
a chain, a keychain
of twirling leaves.
Nothing moves
except the spinning
on Farmer McGregor’s
finger. Peter Rabbit

is weekly in rehab
with a prosthesis, dogs
in the waiting room
leafing garden magazines,
watching the door
for his release. Peter
is slower today
than he was yesterday.
He supposes he’ll be slower
tomorrow. Without
his lucky foot, Peter
is just an old man
with yellow tennis balls
on his walker. No leaping.
No sudden turns
under the hedge. He needs

Beatrix Potter to turn
the page, to illustrate
an escape past
the vending machines
into the parking lot,
through the ornamental shrubs,
the spitting sprinklers, then home
past McGregor’s carrots.
Yes. It was always the carrots.


Al Ortolani’s poetry has appeared in journals such as Rattle, New York Quarterly, and Prairie Schooner. His most recent poetry collection is The Taco Boat, published by New York Quarterly Books in 2022. His first novel Bull in the Ring will soon be released by Meadowlark Books in Emporia, Kansas. He currently lives in the Kansas City area.

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