On the Waterfront

“How now, a rat?” -Hamlet

Appropriate that tonight
I write of dock rats.

You know, the brown
gypsies hidden by day
and night among
the rocks and jetties
of every harbor up
and down the west coast.

Their scavenging
reminds me of my
own search for story,
tidbits dropped by
evening rodent couples
on their harbor raids

or collected from among
the random encounters
of mariners and mothers,
left there for me to discover
like the email you sent
or the Viking ships
near Roskilde.

Mostly, though, the waterfront
and rats make me think of Brando,
Cagney, and the San Diego
boy who died last week
of rat bite flu.
Oh, and you.

A tragedy of Shakespearean
proportions.

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