Without Her

by Katharyn Howd Machan

Today the rat won’t run along the edge
of the stone patio where I write poems.
Silver-gray and sleek and smooth
she’s graced this place as only the hidden
wild can gift a civilized home
built to hold away dark dangers
that quietly creep, that tunnel and twist.
I knew I could never dare
to touch why she came close to me,
showing herself where my garden pots
held flowers desperate for long rain.
The sane part of me knew I’d have
to place sure poison beneath my porch.
But yesterday—oh! The falcon came
and the rat went limp in his fierce beak,
her fine long tail waving a thin farewell
as both flew away from my life.


Finalist of the 2022 C.P. Cavafy Prize

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