Rob A. Mackenzie




Lab rat, genetically modified mongoose,
obedient brain; the guinea pig’s trinitarian
contribution to lightweight scientific trivia:

it sniffs blue flowers on Bunsen burners,
proves cola submersion can strip a coat
of pelt, dodges clouds in Hotel Ammonia.

Its suffering is almost noble, is sacrifice
according to anthropocentric theology.
It doesn’t know what forgiveness means.




The guinea pig feels unclear whether it is rodent
or mammal. Either way, aspiration is marsupial,
a fistful of dandelion leaves all it takes to eke out
a hop and skip, its mouth a twitching pocket.
It runs circles around the Australia of its cage
unselfconscious over evolution or revisionist
histrionics or Adam dubbing it a shrunken boar
(perhaps ‘bore’?). Just as well it lacks theological
imagination and knows no anger, only placid
confusion. Days come to pass complicatedly:
eat, shit, shit, eat, eat, shit, shit, shit, eat,
like morse code bleeping out…what? Nothing
makes sense any more, even the red tunnel
seems intercontinental – from broccoli spear
to water nozzle – the length of a soul’s drift.


ROB A. MACKENZIE was born in Glasgow and lives in Leith, Scotland. He has published two pamphlets (with HappenStance and Salt) and two full collections (both with Salt), the latest of which, The Good News, was published in April 2013. He is reviews editor of Magma Poetry magazine.


More by Rob A. Mackenzie:

Author’s Website
Poems and audio at the Scottish Poetry Library
Reading for Auld Enemies on YouTube