• 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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