Sunday, March 02, 2008


It was the year of the mouse

everywhere, sleekfooted & with bright eyes

& meaning—something—your mother said

& my own dead, with all her fears

as the petals fell, that dreadful blossoming

of bomb & missile. It is surely now

spring & death, beloved, as they say

in Kosovo, picking up the shattered

under the plum trees. I try to count

the broken bridges & soft bodies

mice in the walls, delicate-boned & busy

Surely it means something

your daughter with her bandaged wrists

mine violet haired & dancing. I am dizzy

with chance that takes so much away

the sky torn open, & our own hearts

mouse-still & trusting here

in this world’s feline, lovely glare

It is always a source of amazement that old poems turn with events. This was written years back, but here we are in the year of the rat, with Kosovo again in flames. And of course the plum trees who haunt so many of my poems found their way into this one too.

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