A Time to Shrink by Herb Kauderer

A Time to Shrink
Herb Kauderer

The humans named her Inner Bigness,
but she was just a lab rat.
Maybe it was the name that set her apart,
or maybe the humans recognized
something special.

It took a matter of only a few months
before she was disqualified from service
as lab subject. She could not help it,
she was the constant outlier to every test.

So Inner Bigness got to live
with other retired or disqualified lab subjects.
She was closer in age to those disqualified,
but had more in common with those
who had been retired.

After all, all lab subject mice remembered mazes
long after they roamed them.

But Inner Bigness remembered everything
about her time with the humans
and her peers sensed her oddness.

They shunned her, and blocked her
from the feeding tray.
As she shrank with lack of food
Inner Bigness remembered
her time of testing, and rued her success.

And so now she attempts each day
to act stupider than the last
hoping to eventually find acceptance
or at least anonymity.

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