the mice

my father caught the baby mice
and they were still alive and he
flung them into the flaming
one by one.
the flames came out
and I wanted to throw my father
in there
but my being 6 years old
made that

“o.k., they’re dead,” he told me,
“I killed the bastards!”

“you didn’t have to do that,”
I said.

“do you want them running
all over the house?
they leave droppings, they
bring disease!
what would you do with

“I’d make pets out of

what the hell’s wrong with
you  anyhow?

the flame in the incinerator
was going down.
it was all too late.
it was over.

my father had won