Elegy for a Mouse

Just beyond the door between
the house and cellar landing he lies,
paws folded, not a hair disturbed.
He almost could be sleeping if
sleep could ever be so empty.

Probably he was a last presentation
from the cats now gone from cold Chocorua
to their winter home. There was no malice
in my cats’ needless play and I cannot
change their nature nor the nature
of the mouse nor my own that mourns
another tiny rent in the fabric of the world.

So alone in his little death.
Does his clan sheltering
in the cellar’s chill corners notice his
long absence? Does even a tremor
of loss trouble their quietude or is he
simply fixed forever in their eternal now?

They say death is the body’s passage
from something, to less, to nothing at all
but I think it is a thing with wings.
Murmuring a brief appeal to the petty
god who oversees such minute sparks of life
to bless him on his way, I toss him
over the railing of my deck. He soars,
for a moment not earthbound,
then falls into the snow, reclaimed,
to become a meal, and thus reborn.

— Peaco Todd

3rd place, Poems of NH Contest
On and Off the Road:
Poems of New Hampshire, 2019
Peterborough Poetry Project

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