Early one sunlit summer evening,
on the patio next to the urn,
a brown rat appears, not, as usual,
scurrying in briefest light from dark place
to darker place, but stationary,
as if paralysed, right jaw bleeding, torn.
Then it staggers fitfully a step.
We wonder what to do. Take a stick,
like Philip Larkin to the rabbit
traumatised with mxyomatosis?
The neighbour’s fat tabby cat – that saunters
through our garden like a colonial –