Title: Sport 33

Editor: Fergus Barrowman

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, 2005

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 33: Spring 2005

Elizabeth Smither

page 156

Elizabeth Smither

Poem to a mouse about to be caught in a trap

Last night it was blue vein which
you left alone. Tonight Edam

and a sharper trap, a hair-trigger
thing. Go. I send vibes to you

who has made the cupboards your tenement
the tea towels your bed, your toilet

uncontrolled, I read, a design flaw
gnawing the drawer that held the four

and sugar, baking powder, cornflour
(all removed. You have the run

of this and leave twenty droppings
as you pass). You might

be eating the recipe books to make a nest.
I've left some furniture: the plates

in white stacks you skirt, the cups
with nothing to sip, the deep pie dish

the egg beater: should you tangle in it
I'll take you outdoors to unwind.

But tonight the trap. You've undone, wise one,
two lesser traps, taken out the cheese.

Please go. Outside. There's grain
underneath the bird feeder in the lemon tree.

page 157

Mouse burial

Here comes a mouse skeleton down to you
my old black cat, departed ten years
yourself dust and bones inside a pillowcase
and with lambs' tongues growing above you.

How many field mice you brought it, condescending
gifts you rarely ate, though birds were different.
Now in the underworld of unheard streams
passing far below you, known only by whiskers

and instinct, as forgiveness for dying is, I
bring you this small trap-caught fat mouse
who died with his eyes glazed, teeth fastened on
a square of Edam, under the trap's sharp note.