Kim Bridgford


Oh, Rats

China’s solution to plague of 2 billion rats:
truck them to restaurants.
—The Daily Mail

Most people would be heebie-jeebied by
Two billion rats that sneak up in a body:
Eight billion feet that run on hunger, greed.

The solution is to ask, “Which one will feed?”

This question turns the mass, for hungry people,
To meat that offers protein, adds to fat
(And makes a person much more like his cat).

If people don’t know what to do, it’s simple.

Eat, and eat again. It’s all procedure
Like the worst bureaucracy. The rules are there
To numb, to make what is essential non-.
Bon appétit. Chew up what is available.
Don’t worry about edges that you nibble.
You know it’s easy. Grab your fork. Come on.


purpleLKim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As the editor of Mezzo Cammin, she founded The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project, which was launched at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington in March 2010, and  celebrated its first 50 essays at Lincoln Center in April. Her collaborative work with the visual artist Jo Yarrington has been honored with a Ucross fellowship. Bridgford is the author of eight books of poetry, including Bully Pulpit, a book of poems on bullying; Epiphanies, a book of religious poems; and her latest, Doll. She has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Connecticut Post, on NPR and the website of The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and in various headline news outlets.