traces of life

I have seen a rat as dust. Squashed flat on a dirt road, perfectly shaped like a pressed flower, at the edge of the Sahara. The detail still exquisite and clear. A large ear, buck teeth, a long nose caught in a tight twitch, a sturdy bulging body, fur pushed back towards a long leathery tail. I stopped and dropped down to gaze for a long time, directly beneath the vast white explosion of sun. To resist kicking it lightly with booted foot was too much – and it was immediately vanished into dust, merging and spinning into the sandy red road as if it had never existed at all. I breathed in and wondered if that was rat I felt entering my body just there spinning over my lips into my mouth to rest on my tongue, or sucked up a nasal passage passing gently over soft short hair. A dry cough. Saliva. Now swallowed confidently down into my belly. Rat.

This hill here in front of me is home to many thousands of beautifully large brown rats which occasionally nibble sleeping babies to death.


2 thoughts on “traces of life

  1. Desculpa, querida Vania. Maybe you are right. I don’t feel this place brings the best out of me. But I’m also not at all sure I am trying hard enough.

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