Size / / /

My muse escaped last week,
slipped out the window between
the bars with my overnight
bag in her hand. I called the police
but they didn't care about a petty
thief, and they said she was too old
to put on a milk carton, so I've
had to resort to other means.

Tonight I made a muse trap
and baited it with all her favorite
things. I left a trail of palm fronds
and cinnamon sticks and jelly beans
and peacock feathers and moon rocks
and lizard's feet and uncooked meat
and colored glass and weathervanes
and window frost and broken kites
and a book of Yeats and a dish of cream
and a pile of dates and a sprig
of mistletoe sharpened at both ends
and an aloe plant and a glass of the wind
and a star in a blue bottle and a newborn
kitten and an elephant's tusk and chocolate-
covered cherries and pears and ripe berries
and three feet of knotted black thread
and a blue silk pillow to rest her head

all leading from my big backyard
through the patio doors to this cardboard
box open wide on the floor. I'm hiding
behind the bathroom door with a knobby
club of fresh-cut oak and a burlap sack
and a music box that plays "Hush Little
Baby" when you open it up. I'll be writing
again by morning if the gods give me luck.


Copyright © 2001 Tim Pratt

Reader Comments

Tim Pratt is a poet and fiction writer who lives in Oakland. His poetry has appeared in Asimov's, Weird Tales, Star*Line, and other nice places. He works for Locus magazine. Visit his Web site to read more about him. Tim's previous publications in Strange Horizons can be found in our Archive.

Tim Pratt won a Hugo Award for his short fiction (and lost a Nebula and a World Fantasy Award), and his stories have appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Year's Best Fantasy, and other nice places. He lives in Oakland, California, with his wife Heather Shaw and son River. For more information about him and his work, see his website. To contact him, send him email at
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