The thud, scuttle of rat in the dark
hits marrow more than ears. When, in socks,
I walk into the pantry and hear
the drumming of scratch-feet towards me, my legs
churn without orders, my feet
find higher ground without me.
all animals hold part
of the beauty of God,
and when followers challenged him: rats?
he replied: their gleaming teeth.
On 14th Street I saw
a half-grown rat, a muscled fur-scrap
run along the bottom of a wall
before my headlight. Twice she jumped
against the brick and bounced back
as if testing her spring or willing herself
wings. Then she found the hole.
on my cereal box—and his red eyes permit him
to tear and mark the world
as deftly as does
my opposable thumb.
Not the teeth,