Margaret Atwood

Rat Song

When you hear me singing you get the rifle down and the flashlight, aiming for my brain, but you always miss and when you set out the poison I piss on it to warn the others. You think: That one’s too clever, she’s dangerous, because I don’t stick around to be slaughtered and you think I’m ugly too despite my fur and pretty teeth and my six nipples and snake tail. All I want is love, you stupid humanist. See if you can. Right, I’m a parasite, I live off your leavings, gristle and rancid fat, I take without asking and make nests in your cupboards out of your suits and underwear. You’d do the same if you could, if you could afford to share my crystal hatreds. It’s your throat I want, my mate trapped in your throat. Though you try to drown him with your greasy person voice, he is hiding / between your syllables I can hear him singing.

from Selected Poems 1965-1975
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