New poem:

Mouse Beneath the Hubcap

I was cleaning the barn yesterday,
Getting rid of a bunch of stuff
That had followed me here
From my previous life,
You know,
And I lifted this hubcap
That happened to be covering
A blackened frying-pan,
And there was this
Mouse nest.
No one
Could have made
A more beautiful thing
Than this perfect ball of straw.
Thinking it was old,
I gently, guiltily
Opened it.
Inside was a
Colorful core
Composed of teased fibers
From a box of sweaters
That I meant to give away
Ages ago,
And inside this rainbow cloud-geode
Were six blind,
Shiny-translucent babies
That might have been carved
Out of rose quartz
mouse‘Are you a good witch or a bad witch?’

Except that they were moving.
Then a quick gray movement,
And there was the mother
Perched on the nest
Looking up at me intently,
The master builder herself!
(I still see her looking at me!)
What struck me was
Not so much
The lack of fear in her eyes
But something that
I am almost embarrassed to name
Because it sounds so human.
What I saw
In this mother’s eyes
Was love and pride
But also a question —
Something like the question
Glenda asked Dorothy
In the Wizard of Oz:
Are you a good witch
Or a bad witch?

It’s good to get that straight,
You know,
As we have such
A very long way to go.

— Gary Lindorff