Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Prose Poem
SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

The Trap

by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

There once was a trap that didn’t like what she did. All day and night she’d lay in the woods with bait on her trigger, which would itch terribly, until some poor creature would come by, attracted by the smell. Then she would snap and someone would die, slowly and painfully. During the off-season she would hang in the shed with the other traps and dream of flying, taking giant bites out of the clouds.

For the most part she was lonely. The iron spike that secured her chain never said much from having its head bashed in by a hammer all the time, and the animals she caught only talked about the one thing she didn’t know how to do. But occasionally a crow would stop by to peck at the dead animal in her jaws, or to wait and see who the next unfortunate might be.

One day she said to the crow, “I’m stuck,” and the crow said, “That’s because you’re a trap.”

“But I don’t like it,” said the trap. “I want to fly away and not have to kill anyone anymore.”

“What an odd trap you are!” said the crow. “All the other traps say ‘I’m a flower!’ or ‘free lunch!’ or ‘short cut!’ but not you.”

“Well, I’ve had some time to think about it,” said the trap.

“So have all the other traps,” said the crow.


SHJ Issue 9
Spring 2014

Hugh Behm-Steinberg

is the author of Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press), as well as two Dusie chapbooks, Sorcery and Good Morning! His poems have appeared in such places as Crowd, VeRT, Volt, Spork, Cue, Slope, Aught, Fence, Swerve, dirt, ditch, Zeek, and Sweet, as well as a few places with more than one syllable.

He teaches writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, where he edits the journal Eleven Eleven.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury