Susan Spillman

Unusual Animals

The roof rat and aardwolf are enemies
and rarely see each other—what with being,
hunting, eating, and shitting on the roof or in the forest,
but never both places at the same time, almost never.

The roof rat and aardwolf swore fealty,
kept scraps of captured flesh, protected
territories of shared boundaries, yet
the rat felt cheated, just slightly cheated.

The roof rat banishes the aardwolf,
who leaves voluntarily; et tu means cheated.
Uneaten meat rots in the roof rat’s house
when the aardwolf returns, and lunges for more.

Dirt and blood rain like milk spilled
on the breakfast table that ruins everyone’s day.

Time passes, odd numbered eons;
a rootwolf claws ground parched black,
befriends no animals; there are no other animals,
they’ve divided the leftovers.

The rootwolf re-enacts the forgotten rite of peace,
abolished by a flu outbreak in the time of the aardwolf;
smiles and slime drip from fangs dulled by tubers.
Deprived of meat, a few rootwolves hunger.

The roof rat and aardwolf are enemies.


Susan Spillman: Bio

Susan Spillman: Artist Statement

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