I can’t express how honored I am to be published in this amazing journal and to have my piece honoring rats find a home.
My mother feared the plague, feared long tails and large testicles. I’d send pictures to her, proud of my new-adopted friends. I’d let them drink from my tea, their overgrown incisors and long whiskers breaking the surface as their tongues lapped, their tiny hands mirroring mine on the handle. I’d let them curl into the crook of my neck, the pocket of my jacket, in my hair. Tiny heads nudging at a jungle of golden brown strands and forming a warm nest against my scalp. Momma was always hesitant, uttered remarks of disgust. “Yuck, Hayli,” she said, “that’s just wrong.” She was the kind of woman who marks the dishes the cats and dogs with black sharpie, the jars I keep my fish in when I travel, with an ‘x,’ as if sharing with them would be her undoing. Something unclean, unholy, inhuman.
The rest is here, published at DIAGRAM.