The Madison Review: the Extended Cut no. 3

Hello there!

Welcome to The Madison Review's new series The Extended Cut, where we showcase exceptional work that was not a good fit for the fall spring editions of our journal. Our third piece we are sharing is "King Rat" by Benjamin Harnett, a work that shines new light on the familiar and carves meaning from the mundane.

Benjamin was born in Cooperstown, NY. He studied at Hamilton College and the University of Pennsylvania, and finished his MA at Columbia University. He is currently working on some problems in ancient history associated with the origin of the codex book. He is dedicated to the Oxford comma.

King Rat

King Rat I am. My pelt is silver,

my iron paws end in black

nails, sickle-shaped as the moon.

To me this sloping concrete

is soft as the spring rain.

My double shines up

from the wet surface, sparkling

at the verge. My open eyes

are framed by gentle lashes.

I eat grit and hide

a flaming tongue.

King Rat I am. I wear

a crimson crown: it is blood

from a tiny dent in my skull,

it was a quick, fatal spray.

King Rat I am, dead, but

every time you pass the shadow

of my crown

soaked into the sidewalk

I live again in thee.

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