I hear the trap snap shut;
by the time I walk in
from the next room,
the little gray-brown mouse—
fat from food he scrounged,
like the chocolate cake uncovered
that still has tiny footprints in the icing—
those same little feet now scramble,
desperate to push the trap away.

The trap doesn’t move;
the little guy’s efforts quickly lose strength.
His back legs kick, lifting his body and the trap together,
but the weight is too much.

After a still moment,
his legs stretch out again,
this time much more slowly
not even able to move the trap:

they just slide across the floor.
His body is left outstretched,
his head caught under the bar.

His eyes—squeezed out of his head,
lifelike because they seemed to be looking at me
but empty, black as death—
look more like the ears of an iconic mouse
than windows to any soul.

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