For what must I answer, after?

Will the small spirits
of mice accuse me from
the ghost of my cat’s mouth?

Will the kind words I did not
speak assemble, invert, indict?

What of ingratitude, of wasted
love? How will they prosecute me?

It’s all true:ย  every harm
I allowed, returned, initiated.

What shall I say, after,
in my defense?

That even my wastrel
heart thrilled at the song
of late-arriving wrens,

marveled at the artistry
and utility of feathers,

bowed to the mystery of
night, fog, storms,

loved the delicate
cups of mice ears,

grieved their perfect paws,
blessed them down
to their tiny knuckles?



  1. All great questions, Cate. Those of a good, caring, sensitive soul. You’ve no worries. ๐Ÿ™‚ Stay well. -Russ


    1. Aw, thanks, Russ. I suspect you’ll have little to atone for, as well. I believe intention and earnestness count for a lot, though who knows how others reckon ultimate matters, or if they’re reckoned at all. Worth considering, though, from within our own skins. Wishing you well, Friend.


  2. Thar be synchronicity happening in Poetryland today — I’ve been writing about the dead rat I brought home when I was six years old to my then-pregnant mother. Multiple decades have elapsed since that fateful day, and/but I still can’t seem to do it justice…

    …unlike your exquisite self-indictment in this inspired ditty here! I love it, Cate! ๐Ÿญ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Steph! You probably haven’t as much as I to answer for, so it’s more difficult to voice. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Whatever your sins, I’m sure you’ll atone, by and by, to whatever degree poetry permits. I’ll be looking for it!


  3. Oh my – the thought of facing one by one all the incidents of not-out-most-loving – I suppose I would recall at such times the ones now buried deep in memory no longer readily accessible …
    I prefer to think the balancing of neglect/hurt with appreciation/help is happening as I age forward rather than accumulating in stacks. (Wishful thinking?)
    Love how you honor the mouse!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would take a poor human being, indeed, to not appreciate a mouse body. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m afraid my cats have given me many opportunities to look closely.

      However our sins and virtues are numbered, we at least know we have plenty of company in each other.

      Thanks for reading, Jazz.

      Liked by 1 person

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