Roseanna Alice Boswell

How to Care for Your Rabbit’s Foot Fern

Even with the best of care, you may occasionally lose some of the older fronds. This is normal and not an indication that you have done anything wrong.

–– Jackie Carroll,


When she first comes home to you

she will be small and contained

––only just leafing. You will love her

because she is a fragile centerpiece.

Pale green means no direct sun

-light should fall on her.


Before long you will notice her

nest. It will grow out from under

her arms. Twine around the clay

pot she lives in. You may notice

her develop fur. Do not check for teeth.

She has toes now, and she counts

them privately.


The clay pot will become more or less

innocuous as she becomes around it.

Do not take it away––

she enjoys feeling her roots press down

on something that used to be earth.


When she is older she will know

how to hold herself completely.

Wait. Dread feeling unneeded.


Her lifetimes sit in the shallow

of your palm. She will brittle

and her fronds will die and all

you will be able to do is clip away

the wreckage from her home.


Watch while she recovers what is lost

thickens her nest and tucks

herself closer and closer

in and in.

Roseanna Alice Boswell is a queer poet from Upstate New York. Her work has appeared or will soon appear in: Driftwood Press, Jarfly Magazine, Capulet Magazine, and elsewhere. Roseanna holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University, and is the creator of Bunny Zine Press. She currently moonlights as an anxious English adjunct instructor. Find her on Twitter @swellbunny posting about feminism and her love of exclamation marks.