Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb at the Poetry Foundation:
One week last month, when it was unseasonably cold and rainy—which I loved because I was in a depression—there were suddenly mice flurrying everywhere in the courtyard, in and out of a pneumatic HVAC unit they installed last summer. The mice seemed extra small. Maybe they were babies. Maybe it was because two summers ago we had raccoons in the yard. Then last summer, rats, and a few roaches.
A black walnut tree I hadn’t noticed before fell in a storm, against our old building, breaking no windows. I wondered, when I started to see the mice, if their nest had been in the stump. For a couple of days they ran very happily, or so it seemed, along the insulated tubes, and once I watched one try to climb up the slick steel slope of the pneumatic machine. The longer I watched it, the tinier it seemed, the size of a strawberry. It tumbled down on its back like a kid in a blooper video, helpless, limbs flailing, comic and adorable. The mulch was wet, everyone was sweating, and a mossy patina was sprawling slowly across the concrete panels of the courtyard floor.