COUNSELOR: Poetry crisis line, what is your emergency?
COUNSELOR: I’m sorry, do you mean rodents or police informants?
CALLER: They fought the dogs
COUNSELOR: That doesn’t answer my question.
CALLER: And killed the cats
COUNSELOR: Those would have to be tough rodents.
CALLER: And bit the babies in the cradle
COUNSELOR: That sounds like a serious problem.
CALLER: Drank the soup from the chef’s own ladle
COUNSELOR: That sounds like a less serious problem.
CALLER: Made nests inside men’s Sunday hats.
COUNSELOR: That sounds like a downright hilarious problem.
CALLER: They even–
COUNSELOR: I mean, can you picture some guy putting on his hat and finding–
CALLER: –spoiled the women’s chats
COUNSELOR: How is that–
CALLER: By drowning their speaking / in shrieking and squeaking / in fifty different sharps and flats.
COUNSELOR: I was going to ask how that’s as important as killing cats and biting babies, but thanks for the clarification.
CALLER: At last the people in a body / To the town hall came flocking.
COUNSELOR: And how did that work out?
CALLER: “It’s clear,” said they, “our mayor’s a noddy–“
COUNSELOR: Do you mean a bird–or does he just doze off a lot?
CALLER: And as for the corporation,
COUNSELOR: Yes, this corporate personhood thing has gone way too far.
CALLER: To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
COUNSELOR: Wow, really?
CALLER: For dolts who can’t or won’t determine–
COUNSELOR: Though I should clarify that an ermine is a mustelid, not a rodent.
CALLER: –what’s best to rid us of our vermin.
COUNSELOR: It’s a common mistake. The class mustelidae includes otters, minks, meerkats, and wolverines; but mice rats, beavers, and capybaras are rodents.
CALLER: You hope because you’re old and obese
COUNSELOR: Excuse me?
CALLER: To find in the furry civic robes ease?
COUNSELOR: I do not wear fur, I am a perfectly healthy weight for my body type, and the Poetry Crisis Line is largely funded by private donations–at least thirty-five percent.
CALLER: Rouse up, sirs!
COUNSELOR: Do I sound like a sir to you?
CALLER: Give your brains a racking / To find the remedy we’re lacking!
COUNSELOR: No, sir. I can help you find a solution if you are willing to be helped, but ultimately that solution has to come from you.
CALLER: Or sure as fate we’ll send you packing
COUNSELOR: Not if I send you first. Goodbye.