this circus of rats and masses
I am sharing my true rat infestation story
and it’s difficult to understand, I know,
but don’t tell me to get a cat:
that’s all anyone says.
I can’t have a cat.
I can’t have a house cat
because of my son’s asthma.
I can’t afford a hairless cat,
and we already have barn cats.
The dogs (mutts, and I can’t afford
a damn rat terrier, and I hate them)
chase the cats out into the fields
where they hunt voles and field mice
in between the rows of greens and potatoes,
or back into the barns where they rub
against 100 year old poles,
just plain poles, not celestial poles,
not conduits for the usefulness of Polaris,
and they are not polecats, just nearly feral beasts,
once housecats with collars,
imported to the country from Mississippi Street in the city,
and they eat cat food left out by the farmer’s woman.
They don’t need my rats, anyway.
I am telling you my mother has a mass in her breast.
Don’t tell me you will pray for her:
that’s all anyone says.
I don’t believe in prayer and anyway,
will you really? Do you know her?
Is this just what you say in the way
you swallow multivitamins
and immunize your children? As a totem?
Do you really have time to pray for her
with life after you so wicked relentless,
what with toxins in the water and even the wild berries,
and your seaweed snacks, and human breastmilk,
the most polluted food on earth,
and war and famine and drones and Obama
and even knowing the very sun can kill you?
Our doctors go hunting in pharmaceutical circles
for lore that will tell them how to be heroes,
and your prayers should go to them,
or some child soldier guarding the cocoa farm
because we need antioxidants and pleasure.
They might need your prayers.
Everyone has a job, like in Busy Town,
even the homeless are working it out
with their shopping carts and piss-soaked
sleeping bags and dirty pants and despair,
and this man is a pitchfork expert,
and this man is a candlestick maker,
and this woman is a fiber artist,
and this woman is a baker of the finest pastries,
and we write about their artisan skill sets,
and take their photos and romanticize them,
but buy beef in plastic,
and candles in bulk at Big Lots,
and clothes made in Bangladesh
where factories eat 3,000 people alive at once,
and we miss Twinkies and eat Oreos.
And you! You think I need a cat, or a circus elephant,
or a hyena or an eagle or an owl,
and you want my mother to have your prayers,
and you want me to think positive,
but know this, know this deep in you,
deep in you like a contraction,
and then let it go away:
I am not happy that the new pope
says I will go to heaven too,
no matter what, so long as I am good,
even though I reject Christ,
even though I was never baptized.
I do not want to be good today.
I want to hunt rats with machetes
and hate religion and faith
and most especially hate good intentions,
and wash my hair ten times to
exonerate it of the decay and dust
which never ceases to be created
and is of rats and breast masses
and Big Lots and pity in Hallmark cards,
and I don’t want a cat, or a rat terrier
or artisan cupcakes or a new scarf
or for that matter, your lust or sexual longing,
or you, or your approval, or your advice,
or anything you can possibly give me, but thanks.
I need dead rats and a cure for cancer.
I need clean water and to be able to save seeds,
and to plan for my golden years,
and for you not to pretend like you can help me here.
I don't need flowers or deliverance.
This is survival. This is not a love story.