Poor Melvin

For this week’s prompt, I’d like you to be inspired by the poem below by William Carlos Williams. “The Red Wheelbarrow” has long been a poem that holds an air of mystery and intrigue for me. For it to be so few words, I feel it tells a complex tale with a lot hidden just below the surface. Take any word, image, or feeling evoked from “The Red Wheelbarrow” and turn it into your masterpiece. Oh, and like Williams, let’s do things short and sweet. Write your piece in 300 or fewer words. 

So much depends upon a red wheelbarrow glazed with rain water beside the white chickens but I don’t care about that. I’m more interested in finding my rabbit. We just came home from the Washington County Fair, blue ribbon in hand. He hit the big time in the 4H barn. My bunny named Melvin made me proud.

When I opened his cage and reached in, attempting to quickly transfer him to his hutch, Melvin made a break for it. He hopped like the wind. Melvin hopped so quickly that his little white and black body made a crazed zigzag pattern across the lawn, over the driveway, past the garden and into a hole near the compost pile.

Melvin, my blue ribbon winning bunny rabbit scored high in the looks department, but lacked the acumen to identify a weasel hole.

I knelt at the edge of the hole and attempted to peer down the narrow passage into the earth. I plaintively called to Melvin, all the while knowing that he was a lost cause.

Poor Melvin.

I sat back in the grass, smelling coffee grounds mixed with hot, rotting vegetables and loam in the compost pile. Helplessly, I looked up at the sky and watched large puffs of clouds float past. Behind me, I could hear the chickens protesting as the old and infirm – the ones who no longer laid eggs – were gathered for execution.

Should I sit here and pointlessly wait for Melvin’s unlikely emergence from the depths of the earth or should I run and hide before they put me to work on chicken slaughter day?

These are the quandaries of living on a farm when you are ten years old.

I wished Melvin the best then stepped into the meadow, allowing the tall grass to conceal me.

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  1. I love this glimpse into your ten year old self. I would definitely want to hide on “chicken slaughter day”! Yikes.

  2. Sit and wait for Melvin no matter how long it takes.

    Hide from those who kill chickens and childhood dreams.

    • I had to cut my losses and let Melvin fend for himself. No way I was going to be visible on chicken slaughter day. Yuck.

  3. LMAO! I love your first line. LOVE.

  4. I love where everyone went with this! Makes me want to rewrite my own piece. I tried not to laugh about Melvin…I really did, but then you pull out THIS LINE:

    Melvin, my blue ribbon winning bunny rabbit scored high in the looks department, but lacked the acumen to identify a weasel hole.

    And I can’t help it; I laughed out loud. HA! Poor, poor Melvin…but I think you made a good call. He was obviously a lost cause, and who wants to be around for chicken slaughter day?!?

    Glad that Kella got her groove back! 🙂

    • Those who grew up on or around a farm will see the humor…everyone else will feel badly for the poor little bunny rabbit who went down in a blaze of blue ribboned glory.

      • Oh, you are absolutely right. I can just hear my farm raised nephews chuckling about Melvin being all looks and no brains. Meanwhile, I (sappy bunny owner/lover) am missing Melvin without even having benefit of having met him!

        On a more serious note…I do feel bad for 10 yr old you. That must have been just awful watching that play out. But then again….farm girl to the end, there was chicken killing to be done so time was a-wasting for getting the heck out of there! Practicality always rules on the farm!

  5. That’s a great way of using the prompt to tell your story! I wonder, did he EVER get out?

  6. You amaze me, Kelli. You are so talented. I was in this moment with you.

  7. Aw, Melvin. 🙁 I love this, though. I love how you used it to tell a story of your own. Great writing!

  8. Poor Melvin. I hope he found a Mrs. Melvin and had a happy life.

  9. This was great. Your inspiration took you away from the subject of the wheelbarrow…I love to see how many different thoughts and memories are triggered by the same prompt. Yours was unique and a fun read.

  10. You are a great writer indeed! Poor Melvin… he was not to be anymore 🙁

  11. Ummmm, hello! I don’t know if I ever recall you being “present” for Chicken slaughter Sunday! So, you hid in the tall grass? What pleasant memories!

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