Winter 1994 • Vol. XVI No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1994 |

The Pied-Piper of Murderloin Downs

Residing in the cave next door to me, Ununderstood, practically de-eyed, Toothless, insensate, and ready With an infectious smile, is a killer. Divvying up his meals at chow time, Sacrifices are laid out for mice, he says To save them hunting in our cells at night. Rats visit him occasionally; and he is Their Messiah too. Birds (namely, Sparrows), he kills. Daily;He bends staples into teensy-weensy hooks, Baits them with balls of bread and . . . There is a seldom-observed Type of gagging or death rattle That is a horrific opera . . . A churning puff of dusty brown feathers Going berserk, dervishly jiggabooing, Going over the edge of the tier's catwalk, Gone noiselessly down to meet the first floor . . . And there is On one end of a length of thread, And quivering, that last, precious tweet-tweet On the catwalk, Fresh meat for the mice.

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