I come home on Easter Sunday to find a mouse killed
as if by a surgeon. The puncture wound is a clean crescent.
I want very badly for this to mean something. I pick up
the mouse and am surprised by the fine coat with its quiet
luster like brown sugar. Briefly I resent my Siamese
with her cherubic face, the misleading glitter of her eyes.
You remind me that this is just what cats do, and this
reminder is necessary because until recent years, I knew
nothing about them nor did I care to. I did not want them
hogging my bed, shedding. Barging into poems unprompted
demanding everyone’s focus. It leaves me on edge like after
that Monday fight, I heard the twist of your key and braced myself
for another round only to find you cradling a loaf of sourdough
telling me good morning, thought you might be hungry.
I wish I could pick only the kind gestures I want but love is not about
curation so I am left with a tiny mouse in a jar, too recently cursed
with life to cremate. Briefly, I consider mummification but decide
that it isn’t worth the linen. I contemplated this once before
when I found a stowaway lizard nearly invisible on the carpet
but wreathed in a drop of blood. That same moon-shaped cut
at its throat. None of this means anything, so I have found
myself once again incapable of knowing a threat from a gift.
Rita Mookerjee is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Worcester State University. In 2020, she was a Fulbright Research Fellow in Kingston, Jamaica. She is the author of False Offering, forthcoming from JackLeg Press (Fall 2023). Her poems can be found in CALYX, Copper Nickel, New Orleans Review, Poet Lore, and Vassar Review. She serves as an editor at Split Lip Magazine, Sundress Publications, and Honey Literary.