Mouse In The House - Poem by Gary Whitehead
For two nights now it's wakened me from dreams
with a sound like paper being torn, reams
of it, a scratching that's gone on for hours.
Blind in the dark, I think of my father's
letters, the ones composed but never sent.
They were addressed to his sister, my aunt,
a woman I never met but whose voice,
slurry and calling from some noisy place,
introduced itself one New Year's eve, late,
before my mother came and silenced it
with a click. She was one of many things
we never spoke of. But when the phone rang
at odd hours, I'd wonder if it was her.
That voice had resurrected the picture
in the silver frame, my parents' wedding
day: on the church steps the woman throwing
rice, blond and beautiful, showing no trace
at all of malice in her youthful face.
Now the awful sound, waking me again
like a secret, calls to mind the poison
I left out, and my mother on their bed
tearing a box of letters into shreds.
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