Mom, I never trusted you.
Seems like I had good reason.
Seems like something
was telling me you were lying
about something big.
The Monte Carlo? I recall
the black car and the white roof.
I don’t recall the face of the man
who owned it. You say, now,
he was my vanished father,
and not Keith, that rubber-faced twerp,
drunken little man I’ve called my father
since spit was wet. You ended up
with him versus what I recall
of the loud and flashy and wire wheeled
Chevrolet and its plaid coated driver.
What was his name, I asked you. All you did
was cry and ask how this could matter
when life has been so good and plain
and quiet. With him, you sobbed, it would have been
all noise all the time, Fourth of July
every night. Well, maybe I would have liked that,
I shouted. Maybe a few explosions
might have helped around here. Maybe not,
you said. Maybe not for you, I said — and stopped to think.
A huge limb torn off the tree?
More light comes in.
The wind and the rain
were as a hand sweeping hair
from where it had grown over
our eyes; we see now what’s important,
and the house shall be condemned
so a new house can be built.
You can make a disaster
into as many metaphors as you desire
but loss is loss. Pain is pain.
I could give you images to describe it,
concrete and solid and sharp,
but all they would do is cut and crush and cut some more.
Get your pen out of the way
and pick up a hammer. Put a blanket
on someone’s cold shaking shoulders,
and put a sock in it while you’re at it.
Don’t starve the mice, dear;
don’t leave them in their holes
to wonder about the cruel world.
Leave a crumb for them — they’ll have
to climb the chimney bricks like Half Dome
to get to it, but let them know it’s there.
A little sign in mouse language.
A tiny recording device blasting advertisements.
Is there mouse TV? Use every media outlet available –
are there mouse newspapers? ”The Daily Mouse Ledger?”
Don’t waste time on social networking as their tech
has not developed to that level. Still, we must do
everything in our power to make them climb for the crumb.
Make them whisper of it in their mouse circles.
Martha, my love, my dear — everything we are
depends on us making the mice climb for the crumbs
we can offer them! To cut them off entirely would be cruel
and we are not cruel people, not as long as I can say something
about it. You say they frighten you, they are dirty creatures,
they carry diseases — and I agree with you; the Black Plague
rose from among such as these…but we must not kill them.
No traps, no poisons. No hard boot on a frail neck.
We depend on them as much as they do us, you see.
We leave them crumbs to amuse us, to teach us how to be
gentle and generous. We are The One Percent. It’s our one job.