Nick Flynn

(1960 - / Boston / United States)

Bag Of Mice


I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paperbag,
& in the bag were six baby mice. The bag
opened into darkness,
smoldering
from the top down. The mice,
huddled at the bottom, scurried the bag
across a shorn field. I stood over it
& as the burning reached each carbon letter
of what you'd written
your voice released into the night
like a song, & the mice
grew wilder.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Peter Lundquist (7/3/2010 2:38:00 PM)

    This poem is unbelievable. It's about his mother's suicide; the idea is that as she got more depressed towards the end she became more frantic and scared, like baby mice in a burning bag. The bag needs to burn for the mice to escape from it, but they don't understand this so it gets more and more frightening for them to see the flames coming down. When she killed herself, it was difficult and sad for the speaker to go through, but he realizes eventually what it must have been like to be living in her mind- her suicide freed her from that life. So much said in so few words. Amazing. (Report) Reply

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