Poetry | 2 rat poems by joanne burns




  the courtyard rat squatting

  on an empire of pizza boxes

  rainsoaked piles of stewing

  cardboard     flattened packaging

  from long covid’s eager merchandise

  anything to transcend an unimagined

  plague     rat traps line the walls like

  doctors’ obsolete portmanteaux from

  a much earlier decade     just what is

  happening here the green parrot quizzes

  perched high on an empty branch of a terminal

  tree waiting for the developer’s paunch to crush

  its trunk    a cold slab of fermented porridge rises

  over the neighbourhood like a putinesque moon


                                                         what rabid declensions

                                                         resurrect under this

                                                         demography of tongues

                                                         the chocolate of the world







  after the rain a boring

  feeling comes   dampness

  flattens the view like a

  page of mediocre poetry –

  the harbour has lost its

  aureole    grey grey i

  hate you grey    danked

  buildings shrunk against

  a shoddy sky     down in the

  drains rats chew through

  the postcodes


joanne burns

joanne burns is a Sydney poet. She is currently assembling a new manuscript of recent works: rummage.

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