“Rattus rattus ,” a poem from CRADLELAND OF PARASITES

Sara Tantlinger  is back with the a second poem selected from  CRADLELAND OF PARASITES. We’ll showcase two more after this in the next couple weeks, each scheduled for Monday. If you’re interested in purchasing a copy, please email us at roosterrepublicpress@gmail.com

Rattus rattus

Little pest, scrambling
through the dark, black
coat blending into night,
nocturnal creature
and all his mates, hiding
aboard trader ships
within straw beds
beneath the pillows
of sailors’ heads

R. rattus, squeaking
when threatened
when the men try
to chase it away
from their food,
already contaminated
too late, the vermin runs
leaves smears of oil
along moldy walls,
territorial marks

Rattus rattus, blamed
but only a small part
of a larger equation
in a time where human
lice and fleas
dance between bodies,
strands of hair,
each touch a quick
exchange of grim omens
to follow, of nights
much darker
than the rat’s black coat.

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