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Friday, April 01, 2011


by Stephen Maurer

I'm no Albert Schweitzer,
but I think life sacred,
each in its own form and sphere.
My lawn is weed-free, mowed and edged,
a putting-green background
to foreground a fertile life,
flower beds, home,
wife, children.

An underground army invades.
Trespassers in the darkness below,
the moles of spring came in nocturnal silence.
Their velvet blindness scavenged,
groping the roots of young nubile plants.
I saw pansies wilt, shrubs fade,
my lawn spotted
by the defiant squalor of mounds,
My wife thought them good for the soil.

I tried nudging them into the next yard,
chemicals to offend, vibrating stakes to frighten.
To no avail.
They were like neighbors
whose spreading trash shames an entire street.
I could hold back no longer.
The rules of engagement shifted:
their lives or my reputation.

I ran an exhaust into tunnels,
spooned poison into caverns,
buried jaw traps along subterranean runways.
There were casualties, but the body count
didn't keep pace with new mounds.
I stomped them flat.

My son unearths a buried boulder,
revealing a den of three frail,
squirming newborn moles.
A gift from god!
His vengeance would take them before they bred.
Blinded by the light of my wrath,
they would not find safety.

Reflexively, my enraged shovel blade dives,
severing whole bodies into bloody fractions.
Startled, my son stares at me, unbelieving,
like the six vacant eyes in the tiny heads.
He stays on his knees, paralyzed,
as if Abraham had murdered Isaac.

What god demanded this sacrifice?
The implacable veneer of the garden
accuses me, my guilt expands,
my explanation soundless.

Certified in psychoanalysis by the American Psychoanalytic Association, Stephen Maurer has practiced and written about psychoanalysis for over 20 years, most recently from a Lacanian perspective. His poems have appeared in Boston Lit. Magazine, Yale Journal of Humanities in Medicine, Tiger's Eye, Darkling, Blueprint Review, Desert Voices, Switchback and Deronda Review.  His first chapbook, Side-Effects; Poems of Remedy and Doubt, from Big Table Press, appeared this Fall.