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The End of Pink

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.

Published in Kathryn Nuernberger Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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