It rains the night the old man discovers mice
living comfortably, quietly in his home.
Naked in his study, he considers a move,
perhaps back to the city, while from his bed
his most brilliant student calls his name
and he shivers at her lonely sweet cry.
He rattles his aged penis enlarger — a far cry
from what it once was — now visited by mice.
First, time ambered the clear plastic, then the brand-name
wore off from over-use. And now this: a home
to mouse droppings he fears someday finding in his bed,
an event that will surely precipitate his move.
He’d sought the enlarger only after she screamed “Move
ass! Screw hard!” in broken English. He’d begun to cry
on her shoulder, chastened in his own bed.
Now, the faint scratching reminds him of the mice
exterminated in his childhood home,
how the man with the spray-tank knew his name,
said, “Don’t do like me, Matt. Rise above, make a name
for yourself.” Well, who cares if Professor F can move
schedules, classes, papers, even deans? If his home
is an honored one? Why this incessant urge to cry?
Could it be something so insignificant as mice?
Clutching the penis enlarger, he returns to bed.
His spread-eagled Croatian princess moans from the bed
when she sees the enlarger. She coos his name
and pats the bit of bed beside her. “I have mice,”
he says. “We too,” she says, “so we move.”
“But I can’t.” He observes his collapsed skin. A cry
leaks from his lips: he is too old for a new home.
He sinks in beside her, shovels his nose into the home
of her armpit — an odor of rinsed wild cabbage. Bed-
ridden as they are, it arouses him, awakens him: “Cry
for me my Croatian Rose! With your hands and lips name
my virtues!” And as she does, he doesn’t move.
Her words, her kisses creep over his body like mice.
At dawn she leaves his bed and listens outside his home
where the meadow dozes. A cry of an owl hunting mice
hooks the air, and her lips move with his dying name.