3. My new wife sends me out for mousetraps and peanut butter, and I don’t
think there is anyone that doesn’t know what we’re doing.
10. Just to throw off the scent, I also grab ice cream and a pack
14. The narrative of the contents seems to go:
traps, sex, ice cream.
16. The traps were once tidy things, flat and discreet.
18. But they don’t snap now like they once did.
19. That snap clapped the world shut, a chime in high wind.
20. I’ve felt that anxiety, like pottery slapping the ceramic tile, but that’s gone now.
21. Now there are two live traps in my basket.
22. In order for the live trap to work, one must check it often,
and we are all full of the sin of neglect.
24. I’ve traded a fast death for a slow one then, and the narrative is now:
traps, sex, ice cream, slow death
26. I can see it in the cashier and her pockmarked face, she
sees stories like this one every day.
28. She sees the mousetrap, ones like there once were,
perhaps, in her dreams.
29. And maybe the ice cream is slow churn, the peanut butter
32. The traps slow down in her dream, easing themselves upon
34. Maybe the mice don’t come in at all, but nest in the
leftover leaves, swirled crimson in the corner of the yard.
36. The snow never comes.
38. There is never a need for hoarding.
39. Either way, I think she knows what the condoms mean.
40. She probably scans them night after night after work as
42. The narrative always ends sex.
44. I’m embarrassed now, standing there as she slowly bags
46. And there is a whir from the air conditioners, the swish
of the automatic doors opening.
48. And beneath it all a noise I can’t place, like a scurry in the walls.
Dustin Parsons is an Assistant Professor of English at Fredonia State University. His essays have appeared in Seneca Review, Crab Orchard Review, New Delta Review, Fugue, and Indiana Review, and his fiction has recently won the American Literary Review fiction award, the Laurel Review fiction award, and been printed in Keeping the Wolves At Bay: Emerging American Writers--an anthology from Autumn House. He is the recipient of a NYFA Nonfiction grant and an Ohio State Arts Grant in nonfiction.