Poems of the Week

Rat Kings

by Julia Griffin

“The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned of ‘unusual or aggressive’ behavior
in American rats as a consequence of more than two months of human lockdown for city-dwelling
rodents who now find themselves unable to dine out on restaurant waste, street garbage and other
food sources. …

Elevated levels of rat aggression [have] been observed in New York, where there are increased reports
of cannibalism and infanticide, and New Orleans, where unusual rat behavior was caught on CCTV.”
The Guardian

How scary is the urban beast
Obsessively compelled to feast
On burgers, fries, and Chick-Fil-A
Who, if those treats are swept away,
So quickly lets its manners slide
To cannibal infanticide!
There’s something in this contact drought
That brings the worst in mammals out;
Aggressively they spread disease
And hang up effigies from trees;
They turn psychotic, eat their brood,
And spit at workers selling food.