Dissecting the Rat

I stare at the letters on the page
I repeat the word  "rat"
What does it mean?

it is no longer the furry rodent
that used to rattle noisily around cage five

The sound "rat”
The slight movement of air
Convey only a sense of absence

An absence
which troubles me
as I attempt to finish my Report

Until today
my relationship with the rats
had been both dispassionate and discontinuous

But this morning, as I walked into the laboratory
I saw a rat radiant in the rising sun
I named him Daniel

There are no gods
No future without experiment
Scientific research will always take priority

Through the gas chamber’s frowzy glass
I observed Daniel’s final moments
He didn’t appear to suffer

I had not bothered to watch the process before
Choosing rather to lay out my instruments
and keep an eye on the clock

But as the scalpel’s sure blade
laid bare the inner organs of the rat
I experienced a sudden sensation of  ...