Into the well of his hearing
Go mouse squeaks, barn creaks
Hootings and whirrings and scratchings.
The crunch of a cow's long teeth
Mashing the grass to milk.
If I hold him, a throbbing parcel,
His delicate innards ripple across my palm
Like busy continents.
His Geisha nails are manicured and sharp
You could pluck a harp
With a set of talons like those.
Rat, are you a useful species?
Can we pet you, ride you, eat you?
Can we skin you, rule you, fleece you?
No? Well you'll have to go.
Mr Tufty squirrel's cute... He'll suit.
But rat, with your tail
As trollopy as raffia,
You're just about as welcome as The Mafia.
Your eyes are rubies
Set in a snow-white face.
Forgetting you're taboo,
I stroke you, hear the whisper of your breathing
The stigma that you carry
Snaps in two.
sheena blackhall's Other Poems
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