Mill Town

the morning’s only cloud
rises from the paper mill

beside the bypass
with its thump-thump of tires

going elsewhere at seventy
miles per hour

as death comes
to a white-footed mouse

struggling in a trap
spring dulled by rust

the wide-screen tv
still in sleep mode

below the old skull mount
twelve antler points scored

by rodent teeth
a hat-rack now

zebra stripes of road salt
out on his black truck

and a cracked rib that aches
when they hug

only to pull apart
gazing up wordless

as silver syllables tumble down
from tundra swans

it was just then
she’ll tell you years later

craning my neck I felt
your first kick

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