Mummy of a Mouse

Robert Wrigley

Spit back to sun by an owl or a snake,
it’s a frail leather purse, gutless
and de-boned, stiff enough to hold
upright by the pink slip of its tail
until I see, peering into the gut’s open gash,
the sky comes through as two points of light
bilateral to the snout, a mouse-eye view

of the blinding cosmos. The question is,
as it always is, what now? That is, should I
save it, this sarcophagus of minimal skin,
this hide bauble mouse mummy, this
souvenir of vacancy and death?
I’ve got enough saved bones at home to build
a mythical beast, some bird wolf

or the spawn of a bison and a fish.
Back at the house, the skull of a gray whale
must always house a mouse or two,
and perhaps this sad-sack rodent himself tarried there
once, in the manner of prey, praying
in the manner of every fearful thing,
cowering inside the great gray brain chamber

of a beast a hundred thousand times
his size, like the last air bubble
or a dream of dying, like the soul
misunderstood and misconstrued,
like a man in the hand of God:
so tiny and powerless that, though it will do
no good, God whispers Go! Run! Run!

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