Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Shooting Rats at the Bibb County Dump

Loaded on beer and whiskey, we ride 
to the dump in carloads
to turn our headlights across the wasted field, 
freeze the startled eyes of rats against mounds of rubbish.

Shot in the head, they jump only once, lie still 
like dead beer cans.
Shot in the gut or rump, they writhe and try to burrow 
into garbage, hide in old truck tires, 
rusty oil drums, cardboard boxes scattered across the mounds,
or else drag themselves on forelegs across our beams of light 
toward the darkness at the edge of the dump.

It's the light they believe kills. 
We drink and load again, let them crawl
for all they're worth into the darkness we're headed for.

Credit


From Armored Hearts, published by Copper Canyon Press, 1995. Copyright © by David Bottoms, 1995. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Author


David Bottoms

David Bottoms was born in 1949 in Canton, Georgia. His most

Date Published: 1995-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/shooting-rats-bibb-county-dump