A multihissity of serpents
Sun themselves on Easter Eve
They pose for pix with passersby
Beside the path
And then they leave
In late spring Lake Michigan:
Off the bucket list
Though young Michael Peterson wasn’t a bird
She could call out to gulls and they’d act like they’d heard
And come flocking around her to feed or to play–
Alarming, but in an adorable way.
The home invader wasn’t large;
The ‘frigerator was in charge
Entirely when I arrived.
A miracle the mouse survived
Until the pre-dawn hour when
The cat and I came stumbling in
To fill her breakfast dish and found
Its hairless tail still twitching ’round,
Protruding from the underfridge.
To say the cat “attacked’s” a smidge
Exaggerated. Try “ignored.”
Adrenalized, she’d still be bored,
So far from interested was she.
I tugged the tail. She looked at me
As if to say, Been there, done that.
Where’s breakfast? Less a scaredy-cat
Fed up, I fed her, watched her eat
And then, when satisfied, retreat
To do her business in the yard,
An act of callous disregard
For deeply-held traditional
Behavior (or, she just was full).
At any rate, there then were two:
The twitching tail and you-know-who.
Reluctantly, I shined my light
Beneath the fridge where, wedged in tight
Between linoleum and door,
A rodent lay who’d squeak no more.
How came it to this terminus,
Expiring in front of us?*
*À la the song, the cat came back
To watch and bathe and give me flak.
What mousely mission rendered him
Unto a dénouement so grim
As pinioning beneath a box
As helpless as a scold in stocks
From some misogynistic age
On which we’ve (mostly) turned the page?
I sat and wondered–mostly sat–
Until kibitzing from the cat
Convinced me that the time was nigh.
The hero of this tale was I!
Or, if not hero, then at least
Disposer of the Dying Beast.
The vent from ‘neath the fridge I pried;
Unable still to reach inside
The tiny gap to pluck the mouse
From out the Prison Westinghouse,
I ventured to the basement where
I found some tools beneath the stair:
Some pliers and a trailer hitch, in
Which my wistful hopes of kitchen
Corpselessness invested were.
The cat meowed. I glared at her,
The lazy wretch, then, first of all,
I slid the fridge out from the wall
Just far enough to wedge the hitch
Behind it. Then I snagged the twitchy
Tail that still stuck out in front
With pliers, gave a quiet grunt
(Much softer than had it been later),
Tilted the refrigerator
Up and back, and held my foot
Atop the pliers, holding put
The injured party just in case
Its tiny heart began to race
And one last burst of energy
Compelled it to think first of me
As Sanctuary Wearing Pants,
Not Undertaker. (Would my dance,
El bailar del ratón, be cool?
Undoubtedly. But as a rule
I dance when no one else is there,
Including mice in underwear.)
Appliance tilted up, I slid
The pliers back and as I did
The mouse gave up a grateful wink,
Gasped one last breath, and died. I think.
Quite honestly, I didn’t check–
Just bagged and hauled it right the heck
Outside and dropped it in the bin,
Then hustled back inside again
To wash my hands and scrub the floor
And mutter at the cat some more
Who, now the work was done, said, Hey,
What time is breakfast, anyway?
A fine domestic scene is that:
I catch the mouse, then feed the cat.