• Parables of the Rat

    Karen Solie

    Fall 2019


    The rat and I, we are like brothers. He,
    with his knowledge of causes,
    the elder, and my weakness

    the burden he shoulders.
    I see him in shadow, a drink
    in his hand, retreating to his rooms

    with a bad sandwich, slipping in
    at all hours, his brown coat’s collar
    turned up, somewhere between

    a soldier and a criminal.
    In the eyes of god and society,
    which are the same eyes,

    he's succeeded wildly, but not properly;
    and one day, in the house
    of his labor, he'll ingest the poison

    of the family order, and everything
    he's seen and heard me do
    will die with him.

    Karen Solie’s most recent book of poetry, The Caiplie Caves, was published this spring in Canada, the US, and the UK. She lives in Toronto.

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