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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