Rat-bitten Anxiety Dreams

I once had two baby rats,

perfect as can be,

I raised them to adulthood,

and they died of cancer.

Now they haunt my fevered dreams.

\

At first a single rat,

a soft-haired corpse,

lone in a field of gold.

When the dream me,

got close enough to recognize,

it multiplied.

Now there are many rats in my dream.

/

In reality,

a glass picture of my pets past

brings back memories;

a stroke of the glass

touching soft fur

the sound of the frame against my fingernails

chattering of teeth

the image in my head

images of a thousand dreams

\

In this dream

there are many rats,

running in a golden desert.

I have neglected them

is my cry.

There are too many to care for,

not enough of myself

to give.

/

I begin to spill my memories

Future. Present. Past.

hoping the other me(s)

can give the rats

the love and care they need.

\

The memories are clear

as they spill out of my head

and into the dry, dry sand.

They should evaporate

but dream logic dictates

they create a flash flood.

My mind is awash with suppressed emotion,

the rats all float away

on a log of reason.

I wake up.

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