Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Chance Taken

by Simon Berry

It must have been the smooth
Green surface that made her chance
The crossing from one side
Of this glass fruit dish to the other
Containing no ripples on a balmy night
After a day of rain

Next morning this mouse floats
Dead centre on a sparkling disc
That now is quite transparent
But in the dark crouched on its rim
Below my kitchen window
She would have seen it solid
Distracted with her hunt for scraps

Now by her tail end
I airlift her from a watery grave
Our first and last encounter
A minor miscalculation
Has cut short one life at least
Her mousekins too will surely perish
What could she have been thinking

I’ve discovered a name for it
A way of explaining our delusions
When reason declines hope offers
And still we take our chances
Cognitive dissonance it’s called
We accentuate the positive
Until finally we accept futility

What thoughts had this mouse mother then
As frantic paddling fails to find her foothold
(My tribe will remember me for this feat
Or Some good must come of this)?
Then she rolls over tiny hands pawing the air
That’s how I encountered her
Still grasping for the best in the circumstances