Ivan was a desert rat -
a creature of endless skies
and infinite space beyond innumerable horizons;
of shaded places and cool tunnels
of moist curves in underground sand;
a creature of night air thrilled with ice;
of stars intensely white
and silence and darkness at their most complete.
We kept him in a small glass tank;
For a door,
a sheet of plastic weighted with books.
At any time we could hear it-
the metronomic thumping of his egg-shell skull
as hour after endless hour
he hit his head against the place
where the endless sky should be.
© Clare Shaw, 2000