Their Blue-black sheen
darkens the parking lot. Balanced on power
lines and streetlamps, they wait for groceries
to drop or half-eaten subs to be tossed
from car windows. Edible litter. Precycling.
No crows or gulls are foolish enough to encroach.
Even the rats have been warned away,
at least during day. When an unkindness
of common ravens gathers, acrobatic fliers
expanding worldwide, even as other species
diminish, it’s clear the air is theirs
and everywhere else. Even the desert calls them.
Had Poe lived he would have found them more
a nuisance than the hordes of children
who followed him like hunters in the cobbled
streets of Baltimore, as if the emaciated he
could possibly lead them towards sustenance,
chanting Nevermore. Nevermore. Never. More.
Fan Rat’s 7th inning stretch
September 8, 2021. 4,965 in attendance. Two hapless teams
with a combined 107 wins and 170 loses. The KC Royals
are in town, blanking the O’s thru 7 innings on five worthless
singles. Now at bat in the bleachers. Fan Rat. City Kitty. The crowd
goes wild. He’s running the chairs in Section 65, looking for home.
The crowd chants: “Catch the rat. Catch the rat.” Many are amused.
Most are spilling beer. He’s the only game in town. The eighth inning
begins with a snow shovel wielding Camden yard employee
failing to scoop or smash the wily stadium runner. A visiting
Royal’s fan dressed in blue in section 66 finally snatches Fan Rat
on the run by the tail, and lifts him proudly into the popcorn
and beer flavored air. Meanwhile, the Birds score 9 runs on 6 hits
and an error (2 Royals outfielders collide in center field).
Three runs in the 9th leaves KC 1 short of winning the big cheese.
Alas, no YouTube video of Fan Rat’s fate exists.
Richard Weaver: Post-Covid, the author has returned as the writer-in-residence at the James Joyce Pub. Among his other pubs: Conjunctions, Louisville Review, Southern Quarterly, Free State Review, Hollins Critic, Misfit Magazine, Loch Raven Review, The Avenue, & New Orleans Review. He’s the author of The Stars Undone (Duende Press, 1992), and wrote the libretto for a symphony, Of Sea and Stars (2005). He was a finalist in the 2019 Dogwood Literary Prize in Poetry.