When she was four the mice would whisper
laughter and cries, secrets and lies
back, back, scurry to their master
to tell tales of those thinking things.
Toddling, waddling,
who hadn’t yet learnt to cover their mouths
lest some laughing joyful objection
come echoing out a ramshackle house
to be caught by a bird.

Her mother warned her of wings and whispers
and all the time that painting
followed from gleaming gold
eyes bigger than god,
teeth purer than innocence
hanging on a filthy wall not washed for winter
where a window relief
showed even the light outside was dirty.  

But the ears, oh the ears.
Little Laughing
soon learnt about ears.