小火鼠 (Xiǎo Hǔo Shǔ- Little Fire Rat)

A Coming of Age in 10 Haikus

 

In Chinese culture, everyone is born with an animal and an element that determines your personality traits and astrological luck based on when you were born. Many people go to fortune tellers and have their futures predicted based on these signs. I am a fire rat, born to a wood dragon and a water rabbit. I imagine this would be advice that my mother would give me, but I know that if I ever get lost, a great wooden dragon will come to take me home.

 

Cute little fire rat,

Don’t get drawn to the pale light.

You’ll never find home.

 

Smart little fire rat,

Linger here in the rice fields,

Learn what will kill you.

 

Curious fire rat,

Don’t wander from where you know.

Your mother will mourn.

 

Careful, young fire rat,

You are not amongst friends.

They are the godless.

 

Fight, fight, dear fire rat.

Stronger, faster, you grow fangs

Blood is all you taste.

 

Endure, dear fire rat.

The rain will cleanse the broken.

Raise your head and scream.

 

Enough, poor fire rat.

Can’t you see the ashes flare?

Retreat to its warmth.

 

Close your eyes fire rat.

Do you see the golden flame?

The fire calls to you.

 

Sleep, little fire rat.

There is no need to cry now.

Time to take you home.

 

Valerie Frigerio, the Assistant Fiction Editor for this issue, is a junior and “an aspiring writer who enjoys creating fiction and fantasy. I like to think my style is lighthearted humor coupled with heart wrenching with vivid descriptions. I am a firefighter and currently live at a station near you! I have a loving pair of parents and two sisters. They help with my ramblings.”