Muskrat

by Michael David Madonick

We cannot reconcile ourselves, the incongruities
of our bodies and of our natures, that which is cast

in the purposeful inheritance of our incisors, two worlds
buck toothed, joined.  Above the water and below,

it is always a matter of mediation, breathing and
holding one’s breath.  That we forage, skim the deep

reaches of the pond and then rise, leaving each measure
of our find on the surface or in our den, is a kind of

communion, an offering, registering the spirit of our dual
lives, the constant transformation, the covenant with

the world we leave behind.  Soft enough for a czarina’s neck,
or fodder for some fiery Cajun roux, the afterlife affords no resolution.

Yet, here, in the now, in the soft repellant glide across
the pond, we are nearly delightful, toppling the bulrush

to make our furtive home.  And if the aroma, our name,
that spreads a warning to our bourgeois neighbors, is not enough humility

then, has fashioned a tail.