Literary Yard

Search for meaning


By: Audrey El-Osta


Mother and child on a foolish mission of cruel eviction,
pulling furniture off walls, wearing Doc Martens
so as not to feel the soft
velvety fur of this rodent fiend
or it’s bony claws and inbred teeth
on my own scaly, dried-up feet.

My mother’s scream begets a step, a crunch, crushed
bones, broken and cruelly shattered by a right footed war boot
that did not intend to kill, only avoid touch, catch and release
with sterile intention. I lift my foot and see not the bubonic
fleamonger I thought had infected my bedroom, but a wee baby,
pinkie pie, tiny mouseling, brown hair and terrified black eyes,
shallow breathing and a heart beating faster than mine ever had:
this is the panic of young death.

Innocent victim escorted to my garden,
lain to rest by my crawling flowers.
There was no chance for a mercy blow,
when death ravaged this small beast
within seconds split.
I chant “forgive me, forgive me, forgive me”
tomouseling, to mama mouse, and to myself,
not expecting this crashing wave of guilt.

this Mouse was a gift from my companion,
the brave, forgiving Minerva, whose grey and black
stripes and spots are warning for skinks, moths alike.
For the first time in our lives together, rather than lepidoptera
she blessed our friendship with common rodentia,
a present so rejected, she thought it regifted.

So I lie in bed, gazing out to Mouse’s final resting place,
I see Minerva, burrowing with determination.
I left the poor soul’s body in plain sight
for her, who so cruelly playful or playfully cruel,
scooped up the babe with a single paw
into the air and caught it with an open jaw.
Her hunter feline wild teeth, made for tearing flesh and ripping,
fresh from the bone, crunch and munch the baby Mouse whole.

The predator hunts; the need to eat and survive is never dormant
in this house of food and cuddles. Surely, no need to skulk and prey
anymore? But alas, not even the most fierce of snuggles and scritches
are enough to curb the animal within, halting the hunt in it’s tracks.


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