Susan Moorhead – MOUSEWINE

Swiped from the cupboard, this inebriation,
the house sleeps oblivious to my liquid eulogy.
Music weaves through my sisters’ dreams, swirling
light as air, their turn to be held in the arms of the handsome
young prince. His voice, the rapturous pulse of the orchestra

as we danced, the admiring chatter, all sewn with the sharpest,
silver needle through a velvet night, fashioning a cloak I might wear
over a false gown. What was magic, what true?

I know who nestled in the cup of my hand just hours ago, that
was true. Handed over, a willing trade for one half night. Tiny
muscles like tuned wires beneath their white pelts split and made
enormous to pull so grand a coach, unable to fold back into
the confines of a small twitch, a bit of fur, seed eyes.

My heart, my desire, dazzled by the spin of her wand, I gave
no thought of what might happen beyond the midnight
hour. The cracked rind, seeds spilled from its orange maw

on the black road, lizards curled up, bloodless, like dried, spent
pods, the rat turned inside out. And my sweet six, mouselings,
companions to me, raised on scraps of my scraps, sleeping
curled in my pockets, warm like spots of candle glow. Prey
to the greed of wishes. Left with a cold, useless glass shoe

and memories spliced with a heartache. I sit in my corner
by the cold fire raising a glass to the cleverness of envy,
the bites of desire, toasting small hurts and betrayals, mousedrunk.


Susan Moorhead’s poetry has found its way into The Comstock Review, Goblin Fruit, Anderbo, Otis Nebula, as well as one chosen for Danse Macabre’s Poem du Jour. Most recently, she received an honorary mention for a poem in the Open to Interpretation’s book, Intimate Landscape.


  1. This is wonderful! I especially love the words ”spliced” and “swiped” – perfect bookends to the poem/story. I also like the notion of a “willing trade.”

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