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  • Writer's pictureAnne Mitchell

Mystery in the bathroom

After Billy Collins’ “Christmas Sparrow”

What caught my eye first,

was the updraft of feathers,

weightless, suspicious.

Remnants of a hunt,


I thought. By the bathtub,

the stiff bird placed

neatly, cradled in paisley

print of the bath mat.

Then, a whisper with a British accent,

Agatha Christie sparked

a mystery of the bad luck bird,

“your cats have an alibi my dear.”


Four eyes purred innocence

from around the door jam,

confirming the whereabouts

of my indoor denizens.

All day, I wondered

how they did it.

There were no holes in screens,

open windows or doors left ajar.


Did the naive Titmouse wander

in through the eaves

of the cats’ sunporch, spying

the sparkle of water in the glass bowl?


Or perhaps he had his last

nap on the faux sheepskin

after a pleasant chat

with the catnip mouse.


I mummied the tiny body

in tissue and carried

it to the garden,

cats peering out the window.


It’s buried it near the compost,

with the others,

covered with rosemary, lavender,

a shower of pink roses.



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