My nipples are brown now.
One way to describe me is mouse-
like. Like fur on the one decapitated
in the silverware drawer this morning.
Once we set a trap for a mouse
so fat the hinge could do no more
than pinch his neck contorted.
for hours he clinked around the spoons.
If you survive your own execution,
the only justice is that you be permitted
to walk away with your decapitated
head in your hands, as Saint Denis did,
up the hill into the chapel of the rest
of his life, where we would come
to eat sandwiches on a bench,
holding hands as we would when we took
the mouse to a grassy lot in the alley
behind the First Presbyterian.
Because a hawk noticed and became
restless on his branch, we stood guard
watching the mouse try to organize
himself. It’s disgusting to touch
a rodent, so we used tongs to straighten
the sideways spine trapped so
unaccountably wrong. The fat creature
limped himself into the yellow grass
and further, the bird moved on,
and we went home to dinner happy,
knowing happy for the mouse was
unlikely, but then so was Denis—
how wide-eyed he must have been!
When I told Brian about my nipples,
he told me a little joke: A boy was in
a terrible accident. He finally woke
in the hospital and cried, “Doctor!
I can’t feel my legs!” The doctor
was reassuring, “Of course you can’t.
We had to amputate your arms.”
from The End of Pink
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2016
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.