POEM WHERE HE IS A RAT
The rat is occupying a treadmill, crusading
for a piece of cheese he will never catch. If,
by some wonder, he achieves the glory of
teeth latching onto prize, it will be blue
cheese. The rat hates blue cheese. Though,
as long as the rat keeps straining there is
imagination of survival—which is not to be
confused with escape. Held like this the rat
dreams, and briefly, he is happy.
EARLY BIRD SHIFT
I write this to you from the body
of a raccoon stuck in a Whole Foods
Market of America at 4am. Animal
sounding out words I used to know
when I still said things like this job
is soul crushing. When semi-coherently
making sentences that made sense.
When I had human hands instead
of paws, scratching against the locked
front door. Not thinking in straight lines
I am all running. Hide and no seeking.
Here little raccoon is scared. Forgetting
how to be properly human. Ha. This
sounds like the setup to a bad joke.
Someone tell me the punchline, please,
I do not get it. I want to get it. It feels
as if my brain is being beaten out of
my body with a shopping cart. I am not
a customer, I am the raccoon wearing
rubber gloves. Ordering five pounds
of New York strip steak for someone
with enough money to spend more
than my weekly grocery budget on five
pounds of New York strip steak. And they
have me, poor tired bastard, do it
Aoife Smith (they/them) is a writer and fiber artist living in Western Massachusetts. They can often be found wearing platform boots, looking at the sky, or cooking. Aoife’s work is featured or upcoming in publications such as Death Rattle, Emulate Magazine, and Lemon Yellow Press.