Imperfect Rat

“I never said,” he once reminded me,
“that I was per­fect.”  No, that was one claim
he hadn’t made, though he had ardently
declared his love—and I had done the same.
The sheer naiveté of his clichés
(“Light of my life!” “I’ve never felt like this!”)
made him appear unfit to run the maze
that clever cheaters must.  But to dismiss
my rou­tine reser­va­tions, and to find
in rough charm signs of raw integrity,
of course made me the one of mouse-like mind.
In truth, his labyrinthine perfidy—
      as clumsy as his fraud­u­lent affection—
      matched any rat’s, but fell short of perfection.




Jean L. Kreiling’s poetry has appeared in sev­eral jour­nals, includ­ing Ekphra­sis, The Evans­ville Review, The Edge City Review, The For­mal­ist, The Lyric, Phoebe, and SLANT. Her work was awarded prizes in the 17th Inter­na­tional Poetry Com­pe­ti­tion (spon­sored by the World Order of Nar­ra­tive and For­mal­ist Poets, 2003), and was nom­i­nated for a Push­cart Prize in 2000.