The birds and the bees come and go. They graze on my leaves. They flutter against my stalk, buzzing or chirping their contentment. They always pause at my flower, drinking me in before they peck at my flesh. Tiny holes mark where they’ve been, bits and pieces of me missing here and there, but I’m not too worried. The birds and the bees never want to consume me whole.
The white-tailed deer’s hunger is insatiable. My brothers and sisters always lament when one enters our field; the rustling of grass reaches me long before the split hooves do. Rabbits, groundhogs, and marmots are better at restraint. They feed only as much as they need to, then skitter and scamper away to their burrows, gratefully—and temporarily—full.
Lately, a rabbit has taken a perplexing interest in me. He’s small for his kind, a misshapen thing with gray fur and a white underbelly. One day, he took a bite out of one of my prized leaves and said, “I like you.”
I was moved at first, I won’t lie. Despite the crippling pain, I found myself asking, “Why me? I’m just an ordinary clover now.”
“You’re extraordinary to me. I think I’m not going to eat you. Not yet anyway.” He nuzzled against me and sent a shiver through me, all the way to my roots.
That same night, I leaned close to one of my sisters and whispered, “He’s not going to eat me. We’re in love.”
He’s been visiting me most days since then. Sometimes we talk. Most times, I think he doesn’t hear a word I say as he nibbles on my leaves. The novelty of the rabbit has passed. At nights I stay awake and wonder, “Why did I ever think myself lucky?”
© Avra Margariti
[This piece was selected by Damyanti Biswas. Read Avra’s interview]