House of Words mother rat wooden menu frame

Mother Rat

The queen of common suffering
is a pregnant rat.
She lifts a perfume atomizer
from a dumpster-

for its chandelier glint,
lilac smell,
mint vodka taste,
soft squeeze-bulb feel,
and 'pfffit pfffit' sound.

A good mother steals with all 5 senses.

She has fifty children.
She's a brown city rat.
She pretends it doesn't bother her.
Her littlest one is dying.

I have a powerful craving for poison.
I must be pregnant again.
Why are men so weak?

She has broad shoulders for a rat.
They haul the tools of litters:
shreds and bits and medicines,
extra beads of fresh blood.

I will provide.
There is no discussion.

While giving dinner, she asks,
Spray my haunches, would ya, Hun?
'pfffit pfffit.'
She's not without good breeding.

She wants to feel like she's
more than a good mother.
Wants to so much.
Just for tonight.

Before any pups can stow away,
She scurries out, humming
"I like the nightlife."
And just like that, she's free.

She's fat and happy and singing
and she's not ashamed of her tail
and she's strutting down garbage avenue
on hind legs like John Travolta.

Faster, faster.
Suddenly she's hiking through
centuries of rat narrative:

Rodent purges. Rat diasporas.
The 2nd Albino Civil War.
Bubonic Enlightenment.
The Norwegian Post Erotic movement.


What's happening to me?
Please let it not be the arsenic,
not here in the promised land!
I've been meaning to cut back.

Her eyes are sparkling ruby beads,
but now they're flickering out.
Her long red tongue stands erect
between rows of inward teeth.

She is still beautiful.

Photo courtesy of
(All rats have signed release forms.)

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