The Ballad of Ol’ Tom Rat, or The Man Who Lost His Shadow

Ol’ man Rat was a foul old man.

His children, his grandchildren, his brother and his wife

All told him so again and again.

His dog ran away again and again.

The catcher caught that dog every single time.

Stuck it inside the Rats’ back screen door.

“I’ve known chihuahuas nicer than Tom,”

That’s all the catcher would say each and every time.

As he shoved the old dog in.

One sunny day, out in the field, Tom roared,

“God damn it, woman! What have you done with it now?”

His wife put down the plow.

She wiped her brow. “Done with what?”

“That dark thing on the ground, supposed to follow me around.”

She sat down in the field.

“You ask me that over and over.

“What’s the matter with you, old man?”

She never called him Tom.

Tom ran up to her and shook his fist,

“You take it every sunny day, from every bright lit room.”

She looked to heaven.

“Stop asking me that same old thing.

“You’re such a mean old man, you know

“Your shadow ran away.”

She never told him, she never would,

That every single night, by candle light,

She went up to the attic

Where the old man’s shadow hid.

And they made love until the morning sun rose,

Quietly and softly as a shadow.

About alicebarrett

Small town writer
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