ryan onstott
2 min readJan 16, 2017


120. hoops of ages

many colored, matador made,

diamonds, death, liquor, fame —

when the bull had had its way

matador, mostly, was afraid

matador mouse tries his trade

in the alleys, and by-ways,

or the floorboards if that’s where

the cockroaches come to square

amber, spy, nymph, and elf

are the names of some he’s killed —

this, although, is not on them,

but the one he didn’t get

stir fry steve (that’s his name),

wasn’t built for cock-fighting,

he was gentle, even sweet

(sure he scuttled, but discreetly)

the syndicate (we’ll call it that),

run by spiders and some rats,

scooped him up for their graft

in a defunct cockroach trap

when he’d come back to his sense,

he was pressed into a pen,

fed a special protein sludge

filled with fake testosterone

the date was set for the match —

friday (but, rats can’t count) —

stir fry steve was harnessed, dragged,

by a vole with two eye-patches

matador mouse was in the ring,

built on boxes back-facing —

he was slapping, bowing, smoking,

at a crowd of clapping rodents

so, this steve was shoved in that,

showed a bright red matchstick back,

made to mean he must attack,

and then by toothpicks be in-stabbed

matador mouse was proud and pleasing,

twitching, twirling all his whiskers,

turned the target front to back,

taunted, “let’s get on with it”

stir fry couldn’t help himself,

they’d filled his blood with chemicals,

then, at right, at the last second,

that he had wings, he remembered

as he flew, the mouse now felt

the fear he had in bugs instilled —

the rats, who don’t accept a loser,

charged, and tore the mouse to pieces