A Cru­eller Trap

Prairie Fire - - PAULA JANE REMLINGER -

Mice spill from dry­wall holes,

rain from pink in­su­la­tion. Black-eyed,

furtive scur­ri­ers, they in­habit limbo, pe­riph­eral

vi­sion, the skiff of claws on con­crete.

We set peanut but­ter traps, ched­dar, a dou­ble

cream brie. They lick wires bare, feast but never

spring the catch. We wage a win­ter cam­paign,

find ca­ma­raderie in the trenches.

Though un­in­tended, the re­sult is the same.

Empty wine bot­tles hold mice like ships, bent

as in the womb. We have to break

the necks to spill the dead, and yes

I wanted them dead, but not this in­cre­men­tal

shriv­el­ling, hunger gnaw­ing a nest.

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