Published in Overland Issue 188 Spring 2007 Uncategorized Rodent fugue Tim Metcalf Early winter, the jubilant bush flowers, little mammals in the evening. My hut was warm and smoky, antechinus skipped along the carpentry. One hundred years of amateurs, the trees kept back the wind. Creaking like a little wooden ship, I was pacing out my past. Convict captain’s delicacy, nice cut lads! If my hut was the ship, the rats would quickly jump. Rats are bastards, they are so like us. We soil our nest, we sneak along the rigging. Carpentry and rope, England’s Medusas afloat. Rattus rattus carrying the plague, an ocean of dread. Crouching in the crow’s nest, it’s a long way back to England. Captain Cook my Sisyphus, convicts merely moving stones. Passengers slipping the purser, like sleek mice. Myths soak through as sea mist, I’ll close the window now. Two candles is enough to read by, ten would be nice. Bogong moths, not one of them Icarus. Moth meat for the moth people, few of whom remain. My flotsam mattress, rodents scampering on my pillow. Rodents tug my hairs in sleep, nibble trailing finger-bait. They have shorted out the tangled twelve-volt system. I carry water from the creek, in a plastic bucket. My people must be dreaming, the land is drying up. The white man’s posy florid as a musket shot. There’s trouble with the steerage, his leaking mental boat. Humans think and think, rodents chew, the oceanic forest waits. The mice stay timidly on board. Antechinus tunnel through my hull. To see the nervous animals, sit quietly and still, remembering the past. There are many flowers floating in the winter bush. Silent in my little wooden hut, I close this in my book. © Tim Metcalf Overland 188 – spring 2007, p. 80 Like this piece? Subscribe! Tim Metcalf More by Tim Metcalf Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 10 November 200811 November 2008 Uncategorized The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize is now closed admin Entry to the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets, sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, is now closed. Thank you to all the poets who have sent in work. Winners will be announced in Overland 194, March 2009 and posted on this site. First published in Overland Issue 228 5 October 20086 October 2008 Uncategorized blog archive admin Welcome to the blog archive.