Mouse Offers Advice as Fish Adapts

after the print by Lisa Kaser

If you wants to impress guppies,
why’d you clamber up the beach?
So, your mother couldn’t love you.
You is ugly as a leech
flecked with eczema and scabies.
Sowhat’s pretty, but deceit?
Anemones is predators. Somesay:
peacocks rarely scream
‘cept whenever they is waking.
Swans is vicious, nasty things
that would sooner gut than greet you.
So.  You got no pedigree,
and you hasn’t any thumbprints,
and your knees is capless. Teeth
and lips for bottom feeding
is tremendous aids to speech.
Though your barbels looks like whiskers,
and your snout’s less sharp than cheese,
you’s a species in the making.
Least you isn’t obsolete.

* * * * *

Brenda Mann Hammack is Associate Professor of English at Fayetteville State University where she teaches creative writing, women’s studies, and Victorian literature.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Toe Suck Review, Gargoyle, Mudlark, Caveat Lector,Otoliths, A capella Zoo, Bull Spec, Steampunk Magazine, and Arsenic Lobster.  She currently serves as faculty advisor and managing editor for Glint Literary Journal. Her contributions to Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure can be found here.


ometimes I lose my mind.

Last week I left it on the bus and my husband had to go to the depot and pick it up for me. He didn’t want to, said he was too embarrassed but he was hungry and I couldn’t remember how to cook dinner without it.

Luckily someone had handed it in and he brought it home in a brown paper bag. I was waiting for him in the hall, eager to be reunited with myself and I think, or at least I think I think that’s where it started to go wrong.

I was sure I noticed some teeth marks in it, nothing obvious, just a little nibble here and there but Harry, that’s the husband, had slotted it back in place before I had a chance to have a closer look.

It wasn’t until the next day when I set off for work and couldn’t remember where the bus stop was that I started to wonder.

Then I noticed other things had gone missing too – my age, the children’s names, my best friends phone number and I couldn’t remember anything at all from 1993.

It was a bit strange for a few days but I was just beginning to get used to it when I noticed a mouse on the bus watching me and it had a familiar look in its eye, as if it was remembering back to a particularly good holiday it once had twelve years ago.

I saw the same mouse in the canteen at lunchtime and again on the way home.

Then it hit me.

When no-one was looking I ate the mouse and without thinking I phoned my best friend to tell her all about it.