Or maybe it’s the same one over and over,
tempted by a peanut butter smear,
sharp onyx eyes and rough dun coat
I keep releasing each morning
like the sun rolling home.
How now, brown mouse?
I carry my mus musculus
farther off each day
across parkways and creeks.
Skittery feet scrabble, try to brake,
the world gone liquid,
swirling on all sides.
I offer tall grass,
gnarled roots for cover,
but unlike his earlier incarnations
mouse du jour won’t budge.
I’ve heard their eyes are weak,
yet this one seems to study me,
unfazed. Does he prefer
the devil he knows—
my fleshy hands and human smell—
or is he just stone dumb? I tip the trap
until he slides, and when
his feet touch earth he pauses,
whiskers questioning the chilly air,
just before he scurries off
toward the peril of an open field.
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MARJORIE STELMACH says
Terrific poem. Thank you.