By Fred Lord, Associate Professor of English & Creative Writing
Maybe if I hadn’t accidentally touched
one of the greasy, wrinkled, writhing
babies’ thumbs with my own,
I wouldn’t have done it.
The newborn mice, the pinkness,
size, and consistency of those erasers
we cap pencils with, were sleeping
in the folds of the ratty gray sweatshirt
I’d left in the cockpit of the kayak
in the garage all winter
and was bringing into the house to wash.
Startled, by reflex, I shook them out,
scattering them across the driveway,
then watched in clichéd horror
as the crows, on whom nothing is lost,
cawing triumphantly to each other,
came down like consequences
and gobbled them up, as if I’d fed them candy,
those Canada Mints I’d liked as a kid.
Then it was over. No witnesses.
But I threw the sweatshirt out,
as if it might be evidence.