The Rat

the rat abides

even as I rake

disgusting turrets

moldy bread pasta

walls avacado hulls

he persists


he ravishes my compost

skittering claws

adept at de-lidding

the bin, dragging

my castoff detritus

to his ratty lair


I saw him once fat

shimmery, cocky

living Kingly

on my homemade lasagne

roast chicken

chile citrusy salads


I was on my way to court

-the ex-husband-extracting money

rat eyes glinting, entitled

over the compost

he postured – just

keep the food coming


I can’t call it a truce

disturb his nest again and again

more bricks on the compost

the arrangement is non-consensual

he will keep taking

as long as I keep eating


I could call it a metaphor

a scuttling long tailed image,

a symbol, a living

squeaking personification

It’s life imitating life

It’s a fucking rat



we live many pale

moments and

few blazing, gold ones


freedom is seizing

grand moments

knowing they won’t stay


this moment, you say,

lips brushing my neck,

we will recall


where you are snow falls

and moments pass

three hours ahead


freedom is living

the moments we will

never possess


you are in the east

I am in the west

you blow smoke rings


through the phone

this moment

I can almost smell the smoke




you pursue

something in me

a room I have not known

windows never opened

no doors, no windows

you say

your own body,


while I consider this

particles and atoms

neighbours and strangers

join hands

at a window ledge

in my pelvis

lean heads and shoulders

all the way

let go

fall in





My bed

I dream vague shapes

that frighten or arouse

and wake to my voice

what did I say

what did I say

I sleep with feet uncovered

like my grandmother used to

while my body yearns still

for the comfort of spooning

a hand cupping my breast

my bed seems to shrink

as alone in it

I stretch, diagonal

and learn, night after night

how to take up more



The Phone Call

yellow rotary

phone – kitchen

dinner time

mom picks up

the receiver

a boy for you –

announced because

it is unusual

boys’ voices now

so impossibly deep

“josh likes you”


josh? likes me?

just that day

josh had made a

nerdy boy cry

he had made

my socials studies teacher

see red

me, he ignored

in the kitchen, I

try to speak

without saying anything

aware of my mother’s ears

I turn to the wall – wait

then the next words

“just kidding”

and laughter

I replace the receiver

avoid my mom

whose eyes pick up

where her ears left off

and wonder why

I feel disappointed

that josh doesn’t like me

after all

Fuck Casual

tongue searches

seed – stuck

finds sharp teeth

tastes -still



that berry

an antidote

a communion

head back

eyes shut



fuck casual

I want all

the blackberries

Belt Buckle



it isn’t logical

when you speak up

slides of memory

don’t click into place

they say

you lie and you

aren’t prepared

after you have lived

with the memory

the fears

smell of his cologne

beer breathe

they say,

“the witness is not credible”

they say,

“no corroboration”

you still feel his

belt buckle against your knee

the way it cut in

even when you said,



His right ankle

was crushed in the accident

nothing supports weight

the bone

tobacco voice smiles

“the nurse is here

I await your letter

postal service strikes”

years and distance fade

to fiery curries

African stars

dawn love-making

bones intact then

children unborn

ankles entwined






Stone Elephants




I pause at the house

with stone elephants

wonder, as I always do,

how they came to be here

place my hand on my chest

where I feel an unpleasant squeezing

(just don’t think of elephants)

tread the worn path

to my lawyer’s office where we

accuse each other of things via

sworn affidavits.

later, hide

behind dinner dishes,

bedtime stories, wine.

memory cold, stone.








shiny under boots

that click

and sometimes sidle.

years walking this hall

carrying coffee,

lunch, papers

shoulders set for meetings

or collapsed in moments

when the mask is off

and I think of home

of failures

of loneliness

of regret –

the same hallway

I trudged twice

heavily pregnant

then nursing,

and divorcing,

walking with all my want

weighted with responsibility

felt in these

same feet, different boots,

same vinyl

same focus

on this floor,

this passageway,

on moving forward,

on staying,

on toes curled against leather

on blisters forming, healing,

on volition,

on inertia,

walking on,

walking on.