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Morning Prayer with Rat King by Kaveh Akbar

Morning Prayer with Rat King

by Kaveh Akbar

published in Poetry, March 2018


gravity accounts for the distance between weight

and mass it can also mean alarming importance human

bones are so full of gravity it’s hard for us to

swim I lost my glasses chasing a branch in the ocean

which is far too deep to dredge sometimes


I imagine the sea’s made of actual

tears this would explain the salt think of all

the disconsolate toddlers weeping right now into

the earth the tears must go somewhere it’s important

to consider everything to name what we’re able oceans


give us rain but we don’t call rain ocean knot a dozen

rats together by the tail and you’ve got a roi de rats

which is harder than rain to hear in the night and

far less welcome who mourns a rat king

frustrated chthonic always the biter never the bitten


they give us the evil we need to stay moored to

good still I would break any promise to avoid finding

one O Terrible God of the Mechanical Age I am

your favorite pilgrim yet even I am finding it impossible

to speak to you now without asking for protection



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