The Muskrat


“Here!” my older son had said,

And thumped the plastic bag on the bed.

Inside I saw the brown-red thing.

Small – rabbit sized.

Carefully I washed away the blood,

Dropped sugar milk into his mouth.

He lived.

He lived with me one summer through,

A muskrat, slapping with webbed feet

Along the hallway floor.

Nosing back behind my books

Playing, like a kid, at secret passageways.

In the yard, he paddled in a water basin,

Gnawed bananas, raw fish and clams.

He returned my gentleness in equal measure.

Autumn, influenza took him off.

Why do these extra human crossings strike so deep?

It is, perhaps, that mute eye

Behind the closing door

That would, like me,

Prefer a moment more.




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