It was a big one as cages go, but the rats
went crazy anyway. One could only cringe
at the frightening thought of how it would be
should the cage actually become over-crowded.
They broke up into smaller groups, each rat gang
antagonistic to the others. They showed their teeth,
they made angry rat noises, none of them got along.
Often enough, one group or another would designate
an alpha rat who promised to lead his pack to victory
over the other rat packs. Violent skirmishes inevitably
followed, but no group maintained dominance for long.
At this point, a reader might easily assume that this tale
is intended as a literary metaphor implicating political life
in America today, but to be clear: it is more about humans
as we still are and have always been throughout history.
We create complex mazes for ourselves, we imprison ourselves
by our own thoughts, self-interest pits us against each other,
we’re trapped by our petty cravings and endless appetites.
Some experts claim that there’s no way out, as long as
we live like caged rats there is no chance of escape.
Although dark forces may rule this game,
we’re complicit as long as we act like prisoners
instead of refusing to be tricked back into the maze.