Written by: Paul James

Don’t go into the garden, Maude;
I think the rats are back.
Stay with me a while
We’ll lie here and listen to the
Singsong of pingpong from below.

But don’t go into the cellar,
It smells of bicycle oil
And rotted cabbage,
Of plums in jars clad
in white mould.

Yes, look, see how they hang
From the branches,
Dainty like dancers,
So elegant
For all the weight of their
Disease-bloated rancid

Leave them the nuts,
Come back from the window.
The birds are all dead, anyhow.
Frozen into the sky, don’t you see?
Come back and be with me,
We’ll recline a while.

Don’t leave me, Maude,
The rats are at the door,
Listen, their tiny nibbles
Patter like rain against
The glass, and the night
Climbs down all cold claws.

Silence, now.
The last bounce echos.
The rats lie dead too,
So comely as cadavers,
Don’t you think, Maude?