Chance / Another Chance
by Cathryn Essinger
The local newspaper reports
a Houston housewife has found
a three foot long snake indigenous
to California in her electric toaster.
I need to talk to this woman. I want
to know what kind of bread attracts
snakes, if she goes to church on Sundays
and if she believes in chance.
While I have her on the phone, I want
to ask about other irregularities, such as
the Osage orange that showed up
on my front step, a fruit so large
no creature could have carried it.
And what does she make of the wild card
I found in a pile of leaves--a Jack of Spades
masquerading as some variety of oak?
Or the crow who paces the patio,
carrying a packet of taco sauce,
dipping his beak casually, as if
hot sauce were his natural food.
I'd ask about the mouse I found
this morning in the dog's bowl,
frantic, half drowned, the small cap
of his skull bobbing like a tiny buoy.
Still, he swam, betting against all odds
that some housewife might appear
on this Sunday morning, looking for eggs
or waffle mix, and the opportunity to tip
the bowl onto a sunny porch where
a small thing, who has never questioned
the implacable nature of the universe,
could have another chance.