Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 445–445 | Cite as


  • Celeste LipkesEmail author


Landing Strip Alloy Spring Bingo Game Sticky Sheet 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

We never would have guessed—age six and 12,

ears pressed against the baseboard’s fleur-de-lis—

that shavings, fur, and teeth were sonorous:

a thousand mice can make a lot of noise.

Inside the racks of plastic boxes, they bite

the water spouts’ thick lips, click ear tags, squeak,

and multiply. Each week a woman shouts

the names of boxes set for sacrifice,

a bingo game in which A6 will go,

B7 stay. I miss the strategy

of death, thrill of droppings trails behind

the fridge, the Victor traps dad spread with Jif,

the sticky sheets we laid like landing strips

across the kitchen tile. We thought we saw

mice everywhere. Your gray-toed, mateless socks

were curled like bodies. Dad’s epaulettes were fringed

with thin, pink tails. And when it came—a crack

of alloy springs, a squeal, a wood-flesh thud—

we ran to watch the facedown, flailing mouse

succumb. It pissed and twitched so long I looked

away. Everyone dies quicker now.

They say it took you seconds: the squeak of brakes,

a detonated car bomb, shrapnel, dark.

At the wake, I gripped your dog tag tight

enough to leave your name incised inside

my fist. I know how clean it is to snap

a spine, how swift if done correctly. A pinch

of fur, the tail tugged back until I hear

the oft-repeated sound of sacrifice—

the crunch of bone, pebbles under boots.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Medical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA

Personalised recommendations