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Rats

A brace of dead ones

at the foot of the steps,

a present from the neighbor whose

starved dead dog she had patted

and fed. Big, city-basement ones,

poisoned so unmarked, two plump

pouches, their faces finished

where she would not look.

Hole-black! Denser than utmost darkness.

She pushed their small peculiar weights

onto the snow shovel, the terrible tails

writhing senselessly down into the shiny black

bag, the tying shut difficult too.

Streaming clouds, the late sun less

than the lights on next door, she backed

up against her own house, threshold

above cellar and gutter.

Afraid to stay out, afraid to go in.

from Inside Spiders

Copyright © Persea Books 2013
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Leslie Shinn Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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