Elegy for the One-Eyed Rat, first appeared in Connotation Press

Elegy for the One-Eyed Rat

Last night I fed the one-eyed rat who rents
a nest of frayed extension chords in my kitchen.

Her whiskers twitched and bristled
as she packed her nightly harvest

into the pockets of her cheeks.
While retreating to the heater, she paused.

Her eyeless socket spied me as she climbed
to my fist and flexed her razored talons.

Her good eye, unblinking, glimmered
when she raised her ratty nose to my palm.

I wondered what else lurked in my heater
that would dare take a feral rat’s eye.

What news had this prodigal daughter
brought me from that kingdom of fire?

Had a third of the rats revolted
and descended into the flames?

Had the neighbors fumigated again?
Today I found her stiffened on my floor

with both eyes clamped. I returned her
to the dumpster outside my apartment,

where the homeless nightly scour our refuse
for anything redeemable among us.