It was a gray, cloudy
Sunday afternoon;
there was a shower, too brief.
Built a fire in the woodstove,
and enjoyed the quiet.
Late afternoon,
I noticed one of the Aereauna hens
was on the wrong side of the fence.
But the dogs were napping too
and I knew she would eventually fly back over the fence
to get into the barn,
so I let her stay out.
Two Pheasant couples
and several Meadowlarks were having supper
in the wheat straw mulch in the backyard;
the dogs ignoring them too.
I saw a large, black, furry cat waddle
across the porch
in front of the dining room doors
and did a second take:
That’s too big for one of our cats.
And then I saw the pointy nose,
the white stripe.
Its tail was tipped in white too.
The skunk searched around the porch for a bit
then scuttled off towards the cat food area
outside the barn,
where he encountered Ms. Aereauna.
The skunk hurried away,
to the east,
and never looked back
before turning north
along the side of the road.

For some weeks,
I’ve been playing hide and seek
with a mouse.
We’ve surprised each other,
coming face-to-face several times—
on the stairway,
in an upstairs closet.
One evening I watched it come down the stairs
and scurry back up when it saw me
standing at the bottom.
I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud.
I’ve never felt close to a mouse
and do not hesitate to trap them.
I’ve been trying to trap this one—
I set a trap on the steps,
but the mouse went right around it.
I have had second thoughts
about trapping this one;
it is cute; it made me laugh.

Actually, I thought it was gone.
I found a hole in the floor of the utility room
and stuffed it with steel wool
and have seen not even the tiniest sign
of a mouse since.
Yesterday I opened the upstairs closet
to fetch a box to wrap a gift
and something stirred inside the box!
That cute little mouse poked its head up through some tissue;
I screamed in surprise,
surprising it.
It burrowed back into the box,
which I slammed shut
and carried outside.
I set the box on the ground,
opened it
and watched that cute little mouse
dash into the wheat straw sheet mulch.

It was a Happy Ending Sunday.