Self-portrait, with young hare and unfinished shed

~ after Albrecht Dürer, 1502

In the backyard, where workmen have left
two-by-fours and panels of exterior plywood

next to the HVAC unit, a young hare twitches
in the damp grass. The shed we’re trying

to put up is only a shell— frame made of
eight beams on a small cement square, nothing

yet resembling a roof. The carpenter we hired
didn’t say we needed to get a permit. When we

pointed to the existing shed leaning against
the far end of the fence, its hems rotted

through from standing in water with every
hard rain, he merely said, I can build you

one’a those for cheap. He comes and goes
every couple of weeks, putting in a few

hours at the end of the day; it’s been two
months since we started. Then, a week ago

we get a notice from the city, with the words
stop, and fine, and permit. I kind of feel

like you, I say to the hare, stooping down
to eye level and wondering why it doesn’t

bolt though I can tell its heart rate
has increased in the last three minutes

since I came upon it, on my way to throw
the trash into the bin. Perhaps it’s trying

to gauge the nature of the threat, or if I am
one. I watch the soft brown hairs on its chest

ripple, its haunches tamp down into a spring.
One move— and one of us will break the spell.

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