Winter Is for House Mice

Illustration by Amy Jean Porter

Winter is for house mice who hide behind walls and make nests of newspaper and laundry lint. Once we had a family of six that stole almonds out of pockets and stashed them under cushions in the corner of our couch. In my twenties in a basement apartment in Brooklyn the mice took Hershey’s kisses out of a bowl on the counter and kept them under the top of the stove. I was cleaning for some reason and discovered a glittering party of foil wrappers. At my office now there’s a mouse who left a nut behind a book on a shelf. Last year a small one got caught out in the open and cornered near a door. I coaxed it into a bubble envelope and released it outside. I did not mail it, though that would have been an adventure. If we could make a deal with mice, have them use small toilets, then we could all live together. There could be an agreement: we’ll drop crumbs if you keep watch for dangers in the dark and help out when we leave the iron on by mistake, and flip lights off when we’re tired—small jobs for small hands. And we’d have to agree that only one family could stay at a time, six mice total. We could make a deal. We wouldn’t have to set these horrible traps. We could tell each other secrets and stories of all the things we don’t really understand. Maybe the mice would have the advice we’re looking for.


Amy Jean Porter is an artist based in Connecticut.