Charles Wax


At Spinoza HS Mice Ruled The Night


thousands
secretly alive
in walls and closets and bookrooms
but even in daylight
a bold one would race across my shoes
seeking some mysterious delight
at the other end of the room
fear of humans
bred out of them.
Ziggy the newly installed head custodian
insisted on glue traps
indicating without subetly no cure existed
for the deadly Hunta virus
which floated freely into human lungs
from the dust of dry rodent feces.
At five o’clock in the afternoon
he placed eleven traps in my office
because he wanted me safe
saying I looked just like his older brother
who leaped from a roof in Warsaw
unable to find the perfect word
to conclude a poem
he’d worked on for six years.
As he plopped down the simple
mechanisms of death
he declared, “I am Ziggy the Terminator.
I will kill them all.”
All this said in
an Arnold Schwarzenegger Austrian voice
even though Ziggy came from Poland
and in the morning
eleven mice became stuck
though not dead
their bodies
twisted and misshapen in odd ways
searching this unimaginable torment
for a way home
but eventually all
became glued to eternity
then a phone call to Sonny the sweeper
who scooped the scraps
into an immense trash bag.
And this went on
the same routine
four days straight
until too much death
wore out even Ziggy’s lust for conquest.
And once more
mice ruled the night
but now
also daylight
the ferocious slaughter of life
coming to naught.

Submitted: Sunday, May 05, 2013
Edited: Monday, May 06, 2013

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