In my headlights I see a giant rat scud across the road. Under the unflinching illumination of my high beams, it looms, black with a huge rounded back–like Quasimodo’s hump removed and placed on greased castors. In a flash the rat vanishes into the gulley brush by the roadside. And I’m sure I know the meaning of its quick and creepy appearance and disappearance, convinced it signifies some terrible and unwanted part of myself has been skillfully excised and that now it rushes off, most likely to be run over by a fully loaded tractor-trailer, screeching centrifugally around the turnpike clover leaf, on its way to pay the toll.
LEONARD KRESS has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex, and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz were both published in 2018. Craniotomy will appear this summer. He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens Community College in Ohio.