Ann Gibson: Rats

Back after Christmas,
Simon gets ready
to recount his pet’s demise.

He stands before his classmates,
recalls how Ron had run
around the living room,

scuttled up the tree,
dragged baubles back
to decorate his cage,

tucked into mince pies,
scoffed Christmas cake
and stuffing,

even had a gift from Santa –
he doesn’t dwell on how
he’d found Ron on Boxing Day.

His teacher commends his courage;
only has to hug him, heartbroken,
in tearful spasms,

when a real rodent rats,
tells him Ron didn’t have a soul,
won’t have gone to heaven.