This poem has lovely images in it even if it strikes you as terrifying, funny or both.  Try reading it out loud.  Then write about your fears.  Are they rational or irrational?  Does it matter?  Aren’t all fears very real?  I’m terrified of bats and they are very real and they get in your house.  It’s happened to me three times!  The internet is a great resource for taking care of any problem, I am not afraid of the internet.

Hello                                                                           Naomi Shihab Nye


Some nights

the rat with pointed teeth

makes his long way back

to the bowl of peaches.

He stands on the dining room table

sinking his tooth

drinking the pulp

of each fruity turned-up face

knowing you will read

this message and scream.

It is his only text,

to take and take in darkness,

to be gone before you awaken

and your giant feet

start creaking the floor.


Where is the mother of the rat?

The father, the shredded nest,

which breath were we taking

when the rat was born,

when he lifted his shivering snout

to rafter and rivet and stone?

I gave him the names of the devil,

seared and screeching names,

I would not enter those rooms

without a stick to guide me,

I leaned on the light, shuddering,

and the moist earth under the house,

the trailing tails of clouds,

said he was in the closet,

the drawer of candles,

his nose was a wick.


How would we live together

with our sad shoes and hideouts,

our lock on the door

and his delicate fingered paws

that could clutch and grip,

his blank slate of fur

and the pillow where we press our faces?

The bed that was a boat is sinking.

And the shores of morning loom up

lined with little shadows,

things we never wanted to be, or meet,

and all the rats are waving hello.


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