By Brandon Amico
Featured Image: Corridor in the Asylum by Vincent Van Gogh, 1889
Three rabbits walk into a bar. The third rabbit carries a shotgun.
Three rabbits walk into a bar. The third rabbit carries a shotgun and the first
rabbit a vase of imported flowers.
One of the rabbits is already drunk.
Three rabbits walk into an orgy but only for the pre-orgy hors d’oeuvres.
Three rabbits walk into a bar with masks on but their ears give them away.
Knock-knock. (Who’s there?) No one, it’s just the second rabbit, the one with a
free hand, rapping his knuckle on the bartop.
Three rabbits walk into a bar and the horse bartender says they’re out of everything.
Three rabbits walk into a bar and say every true thing in the world in a matter
of nine seconds. Everyone on a deathbed flickers in the rabbits’ direction; six
continents lean toward the bar but no one in the bar hears them because the
music is loud and the people are rowdy and the rabbits have such little voices.
Three rabbits walk into a whiskey barrel.
Three rabbits walk into a violin case.
Three rabbits walk onto a plane. No, the other kind.
Three rabbis walk into the wrong joke.
Three rabbits walk into a bar carrying oversized mallets with the word
“SUBTLETY” written on them.
Three rabbits walk into an intoxicating mystery of lost love. It’s like every other
intoxicating mystery of lost love—which is to say it’s a popular novel that ev-
eryone picks up because it’s exactly like that other intoxicating mystery of lost
love that they loved. You know what you love. Love is comfort and this is a bar
where you come to be intoxicated by what has comforted you before and not
what is novel and yes, as the horse bartender pours a beer everyone shares a
laugh at the term “novel.”
Three rabbits walk in where three rabbits walked into a bar.
Three rabbits walk into a bar and the horse bartender is already drunk. The
third rabbit asks what the horse bartender will have.
Three rabbits have been coming to the bar for twenty-seven years and have
never ordered a drink.
The first rabbit’s mother was stuffed and sits on a mantel next to the third rab-
bit’s cotton-ball tail.
Three rabbits walk into a bar and everyone pitches their drinks at the wall and
starts laughing hysterically.
The rabbits are tired of this joke, they go to dinner and the waiter stifles a
chuckle like he’s in on it now too, they go to the hairdresser and the hairdresser
won’t cut their fur because she is afraid of puncturing the joke around them.
They’re done with the joke, retired from it.
The rabbits want to sit like peaceful field mice and drink at the bar.
The joke sits quietly and people throw rings at it, try to win an impossible prize.
Brandon Amico is the author of Disappearing, Inc. (Gold Wake Press, 2019). He is a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellow and the winner of Southern Humanities Review’s Hoepfner Literary Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in publications including Best American Poetry 2020, The Adroit Journal, Blackbird, The Cincinnati Review, and Kenyon Review.
Originally appeared in NOR 17