Monday, February 25, 2008

The Rat

This is a poem about a (financially) poor single mother - me.
It brings it all back.

The animal creeping through the darkened
dining room was bigger than a mouse.

I was sitting in the dim light of a single lamp one room away
children's voices floated from the drafty upstairs bedrooms,

cold air wafted through open crevices and thresholds
as news of the Gulf War babbled from the TV screen.

It came from beneath the window seat, a hole
in the rotten floorboards by the radiator

through the pitiful damaged latticework
that was meant to hide the rust and peeling paint.

As my head turned toward the unexpected motion
my heart said mouse, but my mind knew.

Stealthily it slithered to the remnant bird seeds
under the cage on the floor of the adjacent room.

The next night
up through the hole by the cellar laundry tub drain

a trap, a loud snap
the children and I went down to look.


Kelly Jene said...

Gives me shivers. When I was a single mom, my son and I lived in the top "apartment" of a converted house. It didn't really qualify as a crawl space, but thats okay. I had a possum stalk us... this thing was the size of a cocker spaniel (not joking) I would open the interior door that led down through the house and it would hiss and scream at me. Most times it was outside the exterior door just hissing away. I threw glass bottles at that thing and it never budged! Ah, the memories...

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh dear....! The end of The Rat! And you did it so quickly!
Wonderfully written, Diane...!
Rats are really so scary, aren't they? Mice, not so much...! But Rats.....Ewwwwwww!

My Oscar post will be up on Tuesday if I have electricity....(lol!