Saturday, January 24, 2009


Know this: I've no love for mice, moles, voles, rats. Any of those. I mean more, in fact, by saying that: I mean, I hate them. I wish they would leave me alone. We have mice. Perfect. We have mice and three useless cats and I get up in the middle of the night to let the cats out, let the cats in, let the cats out again. We haven't had a good night's sleep in over three years. The plague arrived. It continues. I say 'we' meaning 'me.' It was a decision then, that one day I made, a declaration of sorts. To be rid of mice. To that end, I went to the hardware store. The store was supplied generously with various traps. I wasn't interested at all in the humanity of a gently dispersing intervention. I wanted them gone, with decisive permanence: a banishment into the white-ice of extinction. At least as far as my radius was concerned. I mean, my home. I bought twenty-five traps. The number excessive, I hoped, but still I thought better to err on the side of waste than meanness. It was thrilling in this way to determine the end of infestation. For I was made ill by scurrying at the edge of awareness. The sense that beings huddled behind my walls. I'd heard somewhere that mice carry diseases detrimental to the functioning of the lung, the human lung. You could say of me: I was a man afraid on certain levels of damnation. Back home I thought carefully over the proper arrangement: a constellation of wood and wire. There is an art to everything. Perfection is a form of terror. This was the first step in solving my dilemma. The setting. The setting of these. The setting of these traps.
This poem appeared originally in a slightly different form in Hayden's Ferry Review (42, 2008).

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