The Other Brother
Jamal died six months ago
leaving his rat brother, Krusty,
alone in the cedar shavings
to gnaw solo on the wooden house.
Even with no one around to pummel,
Krusty bucked up, ate his colorful
pellets, found contentment
in the furry lump of self he was.
Lately, his wheezing had gotten worse
and his fur, no longer smooth and sleek
stood along his back like sweaty thorns.
He listed to one side. He stopped eating.
In his two-foot cage, Krusty
had always known the only certainty
in life is death. He is in the freezer now
and come spring, we will bury him—
not near his brother behind our old garage—
but in the park overlooking the lake.
He will know the sound of waves against the shore,
a teasing sound, one even a rat would adore.