Rats

From under the hedge, first one, then two
Popped up
Scampered across the patio, clambered up the tree.
The Goldfinches took off.

We watched from the kitchen window:
‘Just get rid of the hanging nuts’, I said.
‘What about my birds?’

I wanted to make her think.
‘Better than a horde of rats. They breed like crazy’.
That made her think.

You’d put a dozen pellets of poison down:
‘There must be a ton of toxins rattling round their system’.
We imagined the gradual, painful
Leaking of blood into muscles and joints.

The pest controller rang back:
‘Are they lethargic yet?’ he asked.
You cupped your hand over the mouthpiece:
‘Do they look lethargic?’

‘Not lethargic. No. Not yet at least.
Brazen perhaps, or…
Casual? Yes, tell him casual. That’s it.
Overly confident. Verging on bloody arrogant’.
You made an emergency appointment.

We went back to watch:
‘Remember Ian and Terry?’
I nodded. ‘Well, when they re-layed the parquet flooring,
Terry – he’s the older one – mentioned getting hold of a gun.

Ian said Terry’s a dab hand
And could do with a bit of target practice.
They’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, mind’.
I nodded. We fell silent.
Then a third, then a fourth popped up.

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