After a long night, Robert Burns and I now see eye to eye. Here’s my version of what happened:
Wee beastie, I’m sorry for my dominion.
For the glue traps under my bedroom radiator: the landlady’s insistence.
As you struggled in the dark, belly stuck, tail curling helplessly,
I’m sorry for shrieking,
For crouching atop the covers as if you would hurt me.
For my disgust, for my fear, for my petulance
That your suffering should disturb my sleep.
I’m sorry for fleeing and leaving you there alone.
Neither of us slept last night.
I on couch, wide-eyed against the blue of the TV,
You on paper, front legs braced, slowly, slowly, peeling.
We both gave in as the sun came up.
Your burial: rubber gloves and plastic bag.
Your eulogy: the landlady shaming my cowardice:
“We can’t call men for everything.”
Poor beastie, the present toucheth thee
Though I would not.