art thou are you the mute dog caught under the porch
of an age old house surrounded by trees,
found years later mummified with skin tight to bone,
dusty throat raw from your desperate howls
that were never to be answered or even heard? are you the dried up newspaper, crumbling
at the creases with fading print and rat droppings
littered across your surface and something
dangerous birthing inside? or are you a cell of the abandoned prison,
laced with spiderwebs, strange vines,
and the lingering smell of desperation?
the rusted iron bars that cast only
the shadows they remember upon the floor? a fogged glass window in the rainy winter
with no lights shining behind it, no hum
of chatter or music or electricity?
or are you the person who lives there,
saving each coin between the cushions
for the laundromat? perhaps the dusty blanket in a dark alleyway
that once housed a pair of identical twins,
now simply a place for stray cats to nest?
the ragged baby shoe next to it, half chewed
by rats and stuck in monotone in the half-light?
king rat the rock walls of the basement stink with mold,
tiny passageways of the space between the stones
filled of snakes and beetles, your best friends.
the rotting coyote is nestled in a home of
beer cans and twinkie wrappers, cold and
maggots squirm quietly over the fur, and
you, the rat, are watching with your
hungry eyes and hungry face and hungry soul.
dry leaves and colored pencils are scattered
on the concrete, and you see the circles that
your tiny ecosystem moves in.
the snakes are writhing like the coyote’s innards
come to life with new malice and cunning,
the beetles crawling over and inside of your fur and skin.
unrestrained strings of drool drip down
your chin and dust rises within it,
and you’re home. finally home.