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Sunday, December 10, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

At least that's what tests in mice seem to suggest, but it's
only been 27 days, and it was only lung cancer. The next
step will be to teach the mice to smoke. They can start with
stubs found on the ground, easier for the mice to hold.
Besides, that's how people think of stem cells--thrown
away tips, mostly with filters. The experiments alone will
boost sagging tobacco sales. Marlboro Mickey. Give away
sets of mouse ears with little flames in the center. All she
ever wanted was the simple mouse ears but her mother,
who smoked Camels then, insisted upon the best. Her
husband also. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away from her
mother's grave, mice have invaded their bedroom.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.