M Is for Mouse

Jennifer Habel

Winter 2017

In a dark drawer he shreds the bristles
of a basting brush,
gleaning oil from the boar’s hair,

then rears, snout stained
by the bouillon cube he despoiled.
His whiskers twitch, he listens . . .

No, he is alone. The sportscasters
are courtside
collaborating on a bedtime story.

Play by play threaded with color,
action with consequence—
the man of the house,

permitted to stay up, drifted off
to that comforting
suspense. The wife braces

in her blanket of white noise.
Her dreams,
if remembered, will surprise

then confirm. The daughter’s legs lengthen
like the mouse’s incisors

that crumbled the golden cube—
goes his creature heart.

Jennifer Habel is the author of Good Reason, winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition. Her poems have appeared in the Believer, Gulf Coast, the Massachusetts Review, the Southeast Review, and elsewhere.

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