“Skinny Legs, Big Ears” by Paracosmic; June 2023

My ears are tall and help me to hear the world, and I have horns growing from my head that I shed (makes me quite itchy). I am often described as preferring whiskey and having a beautiful tenor singing voice in human tales, and there’s no end to the amount of sewn together taxidermy mounts of me available on the internet.

Initially, I was just a garden variety hare. I came to this conclusion after having my only ever phantom shifts of tall things on my head, which I believed to be ears. With skinny paws and legs carrying me underground to burrow and nurse my kits in the most vivid memory I have ever had. My slightly skittish nature and incredibly sensitive hearing also lead me to this.

The first downfall was discovering that hares didn’t actually burrow, and this distinct characteristic was reserved for rabbits. And rabbits were wrong, they were round and fluffy, not lithe and athletic and fast.

Further researching lead to the discovery of the Patagonian Mara, or Cavy, a close relative of the Capybara.

Skinny legs, check. Burrowing, check. Can run fast, check. But the face and ears just…weren’t mine. Too much rodent, not enough hare. Ears too small to match mine. I thought maybe I could ignore it, and kinfirm, but I couldn’t bring myself to.

I kept looking, and searching for myself. Mouse deer, ancient horses, swamp rabbits, mountain hares. But none of them were perfect. Eventually, my phantom ears became phantom horns, and so I upgraded to jackalope. It felt right…for a little while.

I felt obliged to conform. To have tremendous antlers and a jackrabbit’s body, just as I was described on Wikipedia. And yet, this label didn’t stay the right shape for long. Those antlers are still wrong, the body was off. I ended up settling with the fact that no animal existed, mythical or non, that matched the view of my body in my own mind. I stuck with the deer-rabbit, and left it in a corner.

I discovered my nonhumanity, my place in our plural system, and friends in the larger otherkin community.

Then comes today, the 29th of June. When as dumb as it sounds, I remembered that I am mythical. A legend. A tale. A being of the mist and the forest and the wide open plains. I am myself, not an article on Wikipedia.

Humans describe me as part hare, part deer, or antelope, or rabbit, or whatever they come up with. I am not “part” anything – I am my own kind. I am not defined by the earthen animals you perceive me to be made of.

I run, I herd, I burrow.

I hear, I see, I hunt.

I am a jackalope.