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Berry's Private Revolution

Berry eats

all fur and whiskers

twitching as he sniffs

at seeds and greens.

He climbs his ladder,

runs marathons on his wheel,

basks in schoolboy love.


While cousins in holes

and under floors

shiver in waste and filth.


It doesn’t bother him

that when the revolution comes

he may be termed capitalist rat,

banned or even assassinated.

And what about floods or fires,

what then?  Berry doesn’t know,

doesn’t think about that,

chomps seeds and grins.


Pitying supposed loneliness

we brought Barbara to Berry.

In seconds he jumped her, copulated

and then again and again

six weeks later, a litter

and, fearing Berry might

make a meal of his family

we segregated them, later

returned Barbara and kids

to Petshop hotel.


Under the floorboards

cousins scurry, birth new families

build empires from waste and filth

in their drab uniforms,

they’re busy reading rodent handbooks

learning solidarity,

revolutionary values.


Berry doesn’t care

he eats, twitches

climbs, runs, sleeps

perhaps he dreams of writing a novel

about love and loss

or compiling a vegetarian cookbook.


Our cat stalks them all

she’s looking for her next twitching meal

occasionally catches a careless proletariat

devours him down to tail.

Berry behind his bars views this

uncomprehending, runs his own

private revolution, round

and round and round again.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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