Friday 8 February 2019

I killed him with love: Ode to a mouse

by Betsy Mars

I socked him away, 
safe from escape, 
with warmth 
to the touch and softness -
smelling of mouse
pellets and hay. 

Like a lucky rabbit foot
to stroke in the night 
when demons came
calling for me, he comforted,
but I slept right through
to the mourning  
He was cold 
and hard to the touch.   

In my guilt, I emptied  
the sock and left him 
rigid in the cage, 
To be discovered
and buried,  
along with my memory 
of inadvertent, mindless murder.   

At eight years old,
I learned that love could be lethal. 

* * * * *

"I killed him with love: Ode to a mouse" was first published by Cadence Collective and is also in Betsy Mars's new 2019 collection Alinea.

Betsy Mars is a southern California poet who is in a perpetual battle with change – finally coming to some kind of a truce, and at times even love and acceptance. She is an educator, mother, animal lover, and over-excited traveler. Her poetry has been published in a number of places, both online and in print, most recently in Sheila-Na-Gig, The Ekphrastic Review, and Red Wolf Journal. Writing has given her a means to explore her preoccupation with mortality and her evolving sense of self.


  1. Such guilt in
    along with my memory
    of inadvertent, mindless murder"
    A deft admission of the little cruelties and secrets we all carry with us. Very moving.

    1. Thank you! I just read it again, and it brings the guilt and sadness back with such immediacy. As many times as I have read it, I am still mentally editing it. Is "inadvertent" redundant? I really appreciate your kind comments.