This morning I’ll drop a mouse
into the poem as suggested by Billy Collins
and I will characterize a serpent
as suggested by somebody else.
The snake will coil in front of the
Lincoln Memorial on a day,
surprisingly grey, while the skies tweet
sleet. The mouse will wear a little red
jacket and carry a green umbrella.
He will kick around in the puddles
in front of the Senate, hardly believing
that a snake slithers in this paradise
of marble and promise.
And the reader will feel the terror
of the little mouse. cower with him
against the heroic, undulating wall
of sacrifice. On finding the trembling
immigrant, the snake will dislocate his jaw.
contort his sinew, devour, tiny bone
by tiny bone and silky fur and little ears
the mouse and all his rights
as well as those of the reader.
As for theme or purpose
or the abstraction
for which the writing struggles,
let it be optimism.