Fiction: Vermin

The cold makes them shake, the boys squatting at his door

Breath curling up like ghosts in the night

screaming, calling to the heavens for help


Leaves roll past, some swirling in unseen storms                                                                   

The second boy chuckles and licks his lips

as the first wipes the snot from his nose


Down the street, lovers walked through the lighted trees 

Weaving their way back to their apartment

arms and hearts entwined, warm


A shout, a pop, a cry echoing through the dark

The spattering of running on damp sidewalks

diving behind a building, out of sight


Their panting subsides, the boys are silent again

From a trash can a head rises and

a rat looks at them as brothers


Matthew Herring

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