Where did I leave off yesterday?
I stood at midnight with the mouse
caught in a cornflake box and rustling slightly.
What to do next? I stepped outside
into the backdoor tangle of thorns and roses.
I did not know my neighbors.
They'd be puzzled to see a cereal box
in their backyard. Good luck,
little mouse, I said, as the box sailed high over the fence.
Our next mouse crept
into an empty cider tub for the sweet dreg.
I stood the bottle up, a sad, sweet jail.
Almost at once she gave birth to a litter of six.
I carried the bottle of mice to Lincoln Park
and left the job on its side, for easy exit,
under a sheltering bush. They were all
Beatrix Potter mice, dainty and lovable;
not the gross travesties of Disney.
I was lonely
with my husband away all day at work.
But after a wild party Kentucky Derby Day,
we too began to breed in Rapley Caves, under our thicket of pipes
but not in cereal box or cider bottle.
In the first cyclone to hit the eastern mid-Atlantic coast,
we moved to New Haven in such a deluge
that canoes passed us on the Boston Post Road, and driving into New Haven, all the elms blew down behind us. I survived a surfeit of tainted oysters
and gave birth to our first child.
He will be 55 next week.
Why am I telling you all this?