Once upon a midnight hallowed, under streetlights, sickly sallowed 

Over many a trampled brick worn deep into the college walk –

While I wandered, slowly stumbling, suddenly there came a rumbling

As of someone softly tumbling, tumbling ‘cross the crumbled caulk

“’Tis some animal,” I muttered, “tumbling ‘cross the crumbled caulk,

I shall watch it like a hawk.”

Ah, certainly I was sober, it was in the bleak October

And the passing midnight motors echoed down the distant street 

O’er sidewalks crammed with costume clutter – through faint intoxicated mutters

Up and down the grimy gutters pitter-pattered rodent feet –

A city rat with fur of satin and tiny sharply clawèd feet –

Scampered on the dark concrete! 

Gasping at this autumn boon, I looked up and praised the moon

Or whichever wondrous goddess blessed me with this lucky sight

Enamored, I slowed my pacing – to ease the rat’s fear of my chasing

As it turned, its steps retracing, glorious creature of the night –

It had sensed my eyes invading its protective veil of night 

To the drain it made its flight.

I thought I was being sneaky, though all of my limbs were creaky;

But the rat, wildly cheeky, evaded my encroaching gaze.

And I, in alcoholic wonder, cast my unworthy eyes asunder,

As Rattus rattus vanished under, under the moon’s cloudy haze.

I could not see the rat now, damn it! Cursèd be this foul haze! 

In vain, I longed for sunshine’s rays.

Deep into the storm drain peering, I resolved not to be fearing;

As I’m sure the rat was sneering, laughing at my frantic search;

Amid missing keys and passes and a pair of dropped eyeglasses,

‘Neath metal slats walked by the masses on the sidewalk near the church –

He is religious, this rat, surely, living so close to the church –

Here, the rat had made its perch. 

And despite their tiny size, the moon reflected from its eyes

Two black pearls staring upward from the dirty storm drain floor;

As soon as we made contact, the rat began to scamper back,

As if preparing an attack! Please, sir, do not start this war!

For I cannot now outrun you, if you’re inclined to start a war,

I have two legs, you have four! 

Back to campus, I was fleeing, from this rat, violence decreeing

While on the wall, some guy was peeing, trickling down the cobbled stone;

I heeded the horror stories of a rat bite’s inventories,

And its leptospirosis quarries, among other ills unknown

I did not wish to become one of those who finds out this unknown –

So I hastened home, alone.

My muse. Photo taken at 12:46 am. I’m sure he had very important places to be.

Moon via Creativa Images, Muse via Author