House Mouse

House Mouse

                                                                                Gary Phillips

I favor every member of the Rodentia family

Arboreal fossorial or semi-aquatic

From whistle-pigs to capybaras and springhares

 Kangaroo rats, mountain beavers, porcupines

the swift agouti with her pine nuts gathered

Flying squirrels aloft on their patagiums

Large-eared pikas practicing coprophagy

With none of de Sade’s precocious rebellion

Intelligent, generally kind to each other

Cuddle-muffins in a pile, all communists

Or communalists at least, and they tend

the earth lovingly: Beavers are skillful

ecosystem engineers, prairie dogs nurture

and maintain their grassland habitats,

ground squirrels form colonies based on

female kinship and disperse mushroom

spores to support symbiotic relationships

that nurture the oldest trees in their wood.

I say all this, gentle being in my hand,

Noble member of the clade of Glires

To tell you that it is with great respect

And no small measure of affection and

Even a glimmer of sorrow I am about to

Carry you as far away as possible from

My cupboards, my box of flour, the quilt

You constructed such a tender bed inside.


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