The first time I saw a rat running through
a maze, stopping then going on, I thought
this is the life-observing and
taking notes, to cross the grid
or die of starvation first.
When the rats got to the other side,
they copulated, learned to reduce the time.
Yet on the day the rats had to be slain,
each one lifted by the tail, head brought down
on the edge of a garbage pail,
I knew I couldn't stay with the facts.
I wanted to just imagine
this random couple, hand in hand as they
stroll past a window. At that moment
I would take uncertainty as the goal.
I didn't want to be counted as to count.
Margot Treitel has published her poetry in Chicago Review, Prairie Schooner, College English, Hollins Critic, and the Literary Review. She has also taught English in West Africa.
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