Happy Poetry Friday!  Please visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for this week's roundup!

So … this is embarrassing, but I feel like I can trust you people.


A few days ago, we were in a frantic dash to pack for an RV trip.  The night before we left, I was at the grocery store at 9 PM, manically grabbing tomatoes, seltzer, and cashews (cuz what sane person would even try to camp without tomatoes, seltzer, and cashews?!).  I veered my cart wildly through the empty aisles, occasionally glancing at my fistful of hand-scrawled lists that included:

  • Grocery List,
  • Packing List, and
  • To Do List.

I skidded up to self-checkout and started flashing items in front of the scanner and tossing them into the bagging area.  I had too much in my hands, so I set down my pile of lists on the shelf to the left of the register (along with my favorite mechanical pencil).  I paid, loaded up my purchases, and dashed to the car.  You probably see where this is headed.

I drove home, unloaded the groceries, and looked around for my stack of lists.  Ut-oh.  Not my favorite pencil too!  Sigh.  I called the grocery store, “Hey, sorry to bother you, but did you guys happen to notice a pile of papers and a pencil by one of the self-checkout registers?”

“Ohhhhhhhhhhh, you’re the lady who wrote the rat poem?”

“I … uh … what?      


                                 Yeah.”  Dread swept over me. 

Back up a couple years … when I had just started writing children’s poems for fun, I liked to print out my poems to edit them.  At the time, I knew precious little about rhyme, meter, or poetry in general.  Since that time, I have been using those old poems as scrap paper.  I knew exactly which poem had ended up on the back of my grocery list.  Ugh.

“So … you have my stuff?”

“Yup!  We all thought it was interesting!”

Heavens to mergatroid!  They all read it?  It was on the back of a piece of paper … in a stack of papers!  Nosy-bodies!! 

“Ok, I will be back to get it.  Where should I go?”

“It will be at the customer service desk.” 

My husband walked into the kitchen unsuspectingly.  He graciously offered to drive to the grocery store for me and get my belongings while I tried to piece together my packing list in my clearly subpar memory.

About a half hour later, he was back.  He led with, “Do you know … at the grocery store, you are known as ‘The Rat Poem Lady’?”

“Yes, apparently.”

So, because you, dear reader, have stayed with me on this journey, I feel that I owe it you to share the rat poem that I thought would never be seen by another human being.  Ahem:

Victoria Pratz

Victoria Pratz
gave birth in Big Flats
to thirteen ginormous, omnivorous rats.

She doted, indulged,
and protected from cats,
what turned out to be thirteen menacing brats.

Perhaps I should mention,
Victoria Pratz and her husband Bofratz,
are also rats.

There you have it.  Yes, I know the meter is wonky and the whole poem is a just plain weird, yet somehow this is the poem that has gained me notoriety about town.

Feel free to call me by my new name, “The Rat Poem Lady,” or if you prefer my son’s variation, “Rat Queen.”


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