R.A. Villanueva


Scatter poison across a plate and slide
dish and all beneath the edge of an overturned wastebin
where a mouse is trapped. Tell yourself
there is no other way. Think of your wife who needs her peace.

Watch it first taste, then strike at the bait. Rest assured 
the animal will eat whatever you feed it,
even these peppercorns flash-dyed turquoise. Imagine

the promise of cholecalciferol—of rock salt
at the veins when swallowed, of leech-jaws
onto bones. Imagine an overdose on your own
marrow. Sleep on how that death must feel.

Next day expect to meet in your living room nothing
but a tuft of fur, a segmented tail limp
and meaningless. Know swift darts of its calcium
still pierce the valves of its heart.

Tap the wiremesh with your right foot, test
your trap. Curse chemicals and the mouse
bounding towards you. Remember another trashcan
in the kitchen. Fill it full with water

from the shower. Show the animal
what you have made for it before you combine the two.
When you check on things, note the kicking, its claw at the sides
as if to escape a flood. Forget its eyes
sinking as beads, as baubles.