Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Rouet de Rats

How many worms burrowed into your eye?
Did you train those birds with the needle-fine beaks
to gently probe and pluck them out?
Did you sew those nets like I taught you?
Did you bait those traps?  Did you
sharpen the stakes? How long have you
stood beneath that hive with your
mouth open, waiting? How many
rouets de rats did you encounter,
tails knotted together, dragging their filthy
carcasses in one squirming heap through the dust?
Did you chart their progress, using their leavings
to predict your fortune?
When you grew hungry, did you mash
those little brown beetles into a
protein-rich paste like I asked you? No?
You never listen. That sheet of plywood
is still lying in the weeds by the side
of the road where I showed you. That
could have been a home-no, a palace- for us
but you refused to even flip it over
to see what's clinging to its underside.
Don't you understand how precarious
our perch is here, how close to toppling
this stack of dirty magazines really is?
One offhand comment, one mistimed joke
and tomorrow flies apart, the nest explodes
into flaming chunks filled with charred hornets
scrambling to escape the paper ruins

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