Monday, October 2, 2023




It has slate grey fur,

matching button ears,

pointed pink-tipped nose,

a long tail.

I've been seeing it


beside a table,

running along a wall.

When I open the cupboard,

the one with suitcases

on top, I'm afraid

it'll jump out.

I set up the rat trap

under the sideboard

and waited. A day passed.

Another. I forgot about it.

Surrounded by

bread crumbs,

it was sitting inside,

making no sound,

its tail caught

in the cage door.

I tried to read

its expression,

wanting to

reassure it,

to tell it

that all was well

and I'll soon bring

something for it to eat.

After lunch I thought

I'd go out

and release it

in the open somewhere.

The street was empty.

On one side

was a greasy ditch.

I released it in the grass

thinking it would

run away but it hobbled

towards the shops

and was run over.

I don't know how

it happened.

It was the middle

of the afternoon,

there was little traffic,

not all shops were open.

It would have felt

no pain.  Its tail

was the only thing left

that was recognisable.

Its last meal was

an arrowroot biscuit

I'd slipped through

the wire mesh.


Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Book of Rahim & Other Poems

Literary Activism / Westland Books, 2023