hammy  hamster
poem by  
  keith  o'connor
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Sometimes having a pet hamster requires more knowledge than we think.
 hammy  hamster 

he would run for hours 
on that squeaky wheel 
it was a little squeak 
not very disturbing 
every evening 
I would read my son 
his bedtime story 
I had the habit of 
changing the  
tone  - pitch  - speed 
of my voice 
to make the stories 
more interesting 
that little hamster-wheel 
kept a steady little squeak 
in the background 

one evening when I went up 
to read him his story 
there was no little squeaking 
from hammy 
his wheel wasn't turning 
he just lay there  -  dead 
he was an old hamster 
we thought this was normal 
it was mid winter 
the ground was frozen 
we couldn't bury him outside 
so a few days later 
I came home with 
a small box of cement mix 
after supper  
we cut an empty 
plastic bleach container 
in half 
mixed up the cement 
put hammy in the middle 
of the bleach container 
surrounded by cement 
we then 
scraped his name 
date of birth 
and date of death 
into the soft cement top 
we decided to 
leave him in 
his cement casket 
until spring 
when we would bury him 
in the back-yard 

a few days after 
we had encased hammy 
in his concrete casket 
the weekend arrived 
and with it came 
the Saturday news paper 
there was an article on hamsters 
in the pet section 
if they get chilled 
they go into hibernation 
and appear dead 

oh oh 
I said to myself 
I remembered that 
hammy didn't smell 
when I put him into the cement 
I found that strange 
he had been dead for three days 
he should have smelt 
I also remembered 
that the heat register 
was blocked  
by a tossed comic book 
hammy's cage 
was in front of the window 
the mid-winter window temperature 
would have been 
slightly below the 
start hibernating temperature 
mentioned in the article 

Keith O'Connor 
2001   Dec   31 
Ottawa Canada 

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