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The Mouse and the Cat


The field mouse rests in the center of my palm,
her silver tail entwined about my fingers.
Though death grasps her, life’s warmth
continues to course through her veins into my skin
pushing electric pulsations down my arm, my shoulder,
to the bottom of my heart. My breath quickens as I listen
to the throbbing ­⸺ throbbing beat of my own heart.

Isolated in the cold darkness of a stormy night,
I press my knees against the hard earth,
the bitter rain pelting my frozen cheeks.
The wild wind, slashing at my neck
with icy fangs, whips my hair in my face.
Beside me the cat hunches, hungerly eyeing
the morsel of mouse snatched from his jaws.

Gently, I trace with my index finger the delicate
mousey form. Starting from her slender snout,
I lightly stroke her forehead, her tiny ears,
little paws, slender body, and threadlike tail.
Her large dark eyes once sparkling with life
dully reflect the flashing flames of distant lightning.

Snuggled close against my legs, lies my muddy
orange and white tabby cat.  He sits annoyed
that he cannot sup upon his mouse,
yet he is good-natured enough to purr in his hardship.
After cuddling in one spot for a while, he gets up,
arches his back, and rubs his dirty coat
covered with foxtails all over my jeans,
yearning all the while for a meal of tender mouse. 

Together the cat, the mouse, and I sit in the center
of my yard. My heart transferring sympathy between
the two species.   

--Hannah W., Adult