Today's poem is by Fleda Brown

Under the Eaves

      in memory of William Matthews

Two cottage mice: one trapped, neck snapped,
teeth bared in last surprise, one sprawled dead near my shoe.
Then the Jehovah's Witnesses come by with a tract, "Who

Will Save the Rainforests?" Not that Jehovah will, they say,
but that our attention will lead to....Definitely I am witness
to saved mice, dead, but still soft after the long winter,

to many saved things under the eaves: 80-year-old blankets
cumulous with mouse-nests, a black lantern, a spread-wing
toaster, a brown ceramic hot water bottle, graceful

as a flower bud in its original flannel sack. I am crouching
in the dark among the past's carefully wrapped and labeled
things. How skilled it is in particulars, in privacy, standing by

like this lantern lacking its battery. And talk about care of
construction! There's an invisible opening you crawl through
to get here, a shelf that drops down in front of it. Nice.

A good word that used to mean precise, delicate.To pay
attention, to get the angles true. I start to meditate on
losses, which only makes the present look worse, but then

I remember William Matthews said heart and memory are
pretty much the same. What to feel here? Take this hot water
bottle. Ordinary business, warming the bed, holding

warmth against a temporary case of cramps. The past did
all it could, then quit. What to do with these objects, past
their time, run my hand over their smoothness, make a

speech-balloon over them? Nothing can be fully felt
until it's said.
I think that's Matthews, too.

Copyright © 2005 Fleda Brown All rights reserved
from Crab Orchard Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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