To a Dying Rat

Rat I did not lay the bait
that’s brought you to this parlous state.
Your dulling eyes encounter mine
and I recall the famous line:
“Wee, sleekit, cowrin’, tim’rous beastie”
and grieve with Burns, but then at least he
saved the mouse, whereas I watch
your death old rat, and cannot scotch
the human habits that determine
which are pets and which are vermin.

“To a Dying Rat” published in the Susquehanna Quarterly

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