BY CHLOE HONUM
Large rat in the courtyard of the Auckland Art Gallery,
in daylight, what are you after? People walking by
have varying reactions to you. Some make faces of dislike.
One boy smiles and pauses awhile to watch you.
Others look at you and away with no change
in expression. You scurry alongside your reflection
in a wall of glass, stopping and starting unnervingly,
then turn and hop easily up the stairs.
Your eyes are gentle, even hopeful, in their way.
Yet you make me shiver. When you hold still, your tail
lies flat behind you, a dark line on the smooth concrete.
Like a place to sign at the end of an old, unreadable year.
Chloe Honum is the author of Then Winter (Bull City Press, 2017) and The Tulip-Flame (Cleveland State University Press, 2014), which won Foreword Reviews Poetry Book of the Year Award and was a finalist for the PEN Center USA Literary Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere, and her awards include a Pushcart Prize and a Grimshaw Sargeson Fellowship in Auckland City. She was raised in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and currently lives in Texas.
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