It was a family of mice
beneath the kitchen sink,
each a victim of its vice—
corpses rotten, beginning to stink.
They had been caught in glue traps,
their bodies black and distended,
having been looking for food, perhaps,
and finding themselves now ended.
There was a father, a mother,
three children all on the same trap,
as if one had been caught, and then another,
all falling prey to the same mishap;
none learning from the one that came before,
wanting an easy snack, an easy life
in a place of respite away from the more
difficult fields, with their toil and strife.
And now their leisure had them shitting
themselves where they hunkered down to eat,
unable to move, wrenching, then quitting,
giving up the struggle, or else tearing their meat
in fear of the end, consuming their own flesh
to survive just a bit longer, as if they might
see their old world again, the one still fresh
with flowers and berries and gentle sunlight.
And I wondered, as I threw them away
in the trash bag, with its heaps of waste,
whether we, also, would some dark day
be trapped on a dying planet, inevitably faced
with our own imminent demise;
wondering whether we would still choose to lie
to ourselves as seas boiled beneath ashen skies—
able to do nothing but watch our own children die.

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