• Antonia Pont


there are rats in the roof

I do not get them out

their sound

            is grit cascading

I do not poison them

                        as friends do

                  (they gnaw the wires

and indeed       who wouldn't?                                       but I relish the grating

            soft      round  lengthy                                      and their cover-of-night

treats)                                                                                    forays

                        above the burr of the heater                 onto taut bare limbs

ticking steps    like                                                                                of winter's wisteria

sticks hurled vertically

            brittle bodies                                                    I never see        their

teeming through                                                           limbs                 their

            the tight cool space                                                     firm rogue bodies

            between roof                                                    or toasty coats

and thin ceiling

cats doze below                                                            they'd have no truck

                        have not linked                                               with my mincing strokes          with my

the higher traffic          to thoughts                               meek advances

of prey             their jaws                                                        they make their raw     dark

            do not go snicker-caw                                                              renegade life

at the rats                                                                               while the drowsy

            as they strip the willow                                    sleek interiors below

or dosey-doe close by                                                              poach nicer creatures.

            not like they do with birds

                        (the insipid birds)

who need to be warned

with a wide palm to the window


when flat          lithe     death

decked in fur

            gutters towards them

                        instead the rats

make the roof

            into rainstick

            as if weather's weight               shifting

lurching structure

            turning orders upside down


sometimes       so urgent

dirt chasing dirt at speed over dirt

            soil's hot acceleration


I should try to kill them                       instill

law above my head

above all