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City Mouse 
by Ann Howells

My daughter springs from the car,
naked feet drum a ragged lawn where
the dog half-crouches, barks, pins
some small animal against rough brick.
Don’t pick it up! but she is fascinated
by tiny creatures—
             salamanders, crawdaddies, fat-fingered frogs,
             darting opalescent minnows, woolie bears,
             soft green locusts with leaded-glass wings.
She rescues a field mouse, fat and sleek,
dapper, unlike scraggly, grey city cousins.         
No country gentleman though, he bites.
I wash, re-wash tiny punctures, telephone
the local doctor who advises no treatment.
Odds roll from his tongue. But, I don’t speak
this language: bottom, holler, crick. Don’t
understand women named Nettie and Orpha.
Or trust a doctor white-haired, countrified.



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