Emily Dickinson Kills a Mouse

By James W. Gaynor

Readers of OTV already know about the unexpected star quality of Emily Dickinson Gaynor, the small dog who defended a wronged woman and child, protected me and delivered righteous justice to the evildoer (When the Dog Bites).  As a result of that article’s popularity, Emily now gets fan mail (c/o nemetonpress@gmail.com) from around the world — and the mayor of New York sent an update on the city’s initiative to improve bicycle safety along with regards to my dog and “Loved the poetry!”

So, to update her many followers, Emily has now added urban mouse murder to her bicyclist-discipline and shoelace-untying repertoire. Here’s her latest exploit, told in her namesake’s distinctive style — and, like almost all of the poet’s work, it, too, can be sung to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas”:


Emily Dickinson Kills a Mouse


I started late. I took my dog —
Or rather she took me.
Her namesake is the Poet
Also known as Emily.

Led by her nose, straight to the curb
By trash’s siren scent —
And then a tinny Rodent shriek —
A prayer to heaven went.

Amherst Em’s fierce spirit lived —
The Mouse might not agree.
But Death awaits us who-knows-where —
As does Her Poetry.


Emily finished shaking the mouse corpse and then dropped it on my shoe with an adoring, “Am I cute, or what?” look. This made it easier for me both to kick it back into the trash pile from which it came and to then appreciate that no one had ever before given me a dead mouse as a token of affection.

Crossing that one off the bucket list …


Everything Becomes a Poem  available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Watch the Everything Becomes a Poem book launch!


James W. Gaynor is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he lived in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th -century France, and worked as a translator.

After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset & Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes Publications, where he was on the editorial staff of the Social Register. His articles, book reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, and he recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for Ernst & Young LLP.

A silver medalist in the 1994 Gay Games (Racewalking), Gaynor’s found-object sculpture has been exhibited internationally. He is a member of the Advisory Board of New York’s The Creative Center at University Settlement, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing the creative arts to people with cancer and chronic illnesses.

An avid urbanite, Gaynor lives in New York City.


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