Other than Big Mouse hunkered down in the breadbox, our house was perfect.
When it rained my hair shrank into corkscrew curls,

and my brother, whom I adored, folded his stories into compact squares.
He never left his blue room overlooking the sea

when it rained. My hair shrank into corkscrew curls.
On our jagged point, birds and otters swooped and honked and

my brother never left his room overlooking the sea.
And then a waif moved into the garage with red walls.

On our jagged point, birds and otters swooped and honked.
No one knew who she was, how she’d come to be there.

A waif moving into the garage with red walls?
I asked our mother, but she just shrugged: melancholic, nonchalant.

Who was she? How had the waif come to be there?
Some nights, everyone asleep, she’d open a portal to another universe

and I’d dance with my pet octopus with the collapsible legs.
Our melancholic mother just shrugged, nonchalant.

Some nights, everyone sleeping, a portal to another universe would open
but only I seemed to understand you get more honey with bees.

I’d dance with my pet octopus with the collapsible legs
while my brother shut his ears to all talk of exterminators.

Only I seemed to understand bees equal honey.
Believing in the waif’s powers, my brother begged her to intervene.

He couldn’t bear all the talk of exterminators.
Despite this, men arrived, wearing gumboots and overalls.

My brother begged the waif to intervene. He believed in her powers.
Which way, the men shouted, which way to the rat?

Despite everything, they arrived in overalls and gumboots,
canisters on their backs, pointing rifles of poison.

Which way, the men shouted, which way to the rat?
Happily, our father was at the restaurant, carving up animals.

Canisters on their backs, the men pointed their rifles of poison.
Later that night the air in the kitchen clattered noisily.

At the restaurant our father was carving up animals, happily
serving his guests so I cracked my bedroom door open.

There they were—thousands upon thousands freed from dungeons!
The air in the kitchen clattered noisily

while our father served his guests and I cracked the door open and saw
the wretched of the earth streaming down the hallway.

Thousands upon thousands freed from dungeons!
Some day I’d turn our lives into an art film with lots of shiny green trees

but that night the wretched of the earth streamed down the hallway
while my brother, whom I adored, folded stories into compact squares.

Years later I’d animate our lives with art and film and lots of shiny green trees.
Other than Big Mouse hunkered down in the breadbox our house was perfect.