Mercedes Webb-Pullman

The red pearl

I understood about the mouse. I hadn’t
thought it through, just wanted a pet.

On the way home he escaped in a shop.
The grocer caught him, brought him back

then Mum was mad. When Dad came home
he was furious. You’d think

I’d single handedly reintroduced
the Black Plague. I answered back, got a slap.

It ended at the chopping block, tomahawk
in one hand, mouse in the other

and Dad standing over, making me do it
myself. I felt the warm brown shaking

then it was done. One body, one head
one perfect red pearl at the nostril.

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