Can Singing Mice Reveal the Roots of Human Speech?
Men care little for mice, gods for men, and me for
the excuse that hovers above a few white heads,
projected by a few white coats. At first the keening
is imperceptible as when dew efforts from inside a blade
of grass but then the high tin can be heard parting
air; a vibration of whiskers and the song breaks
into bell tolls. Is this the dirge or
the epithalamium? The pop song that lasts
only as long as a new lover will balance
on a body before collapsing inward? Dead star
or serenade? Or poem, made melodious,
by teeth that whistle when spoken through.
Who is speaking through these mice? Not mice
but some purpose that explains how my
humanness can hinge onto pure air and make it
the long thin lines of use. Wave. Wave. Wave.
Refracted softly against skin and fur so that
its opposite bounces back, enters the ear. We have
been producing this song longer than we have been
speaking I expect. I think there are many questions
that should hang silent. How many mice
will we cage and prod in order to prove the world
keeps on its music, with or without us?
No need of a human word or song or poem.
Sophie Strand is a writer living in the Catskills. She has published poems in The Doris, Persephone’s Daughters, www.poetry.org, Your Impossible Voice, Entropy, and The Chronogram. Oread Press published her first chap book Love Song to a Blue God in 2017.