In the Old Norse,
Family: scuridae,
from the ancient Greek: skiourous,
meaning “shadow-tailed.”

He is a streak of red
zigzagging down that grey ash,
hind legs outstretched as he runs
away from the Eagle.

he has new words for Nídhögg,
and can easily leap
onto that scaly head,
whisper them into his ear,
brown ear-tufts tickling
dragon ear drums.

And the dragon will
rear his head and send
him flying with a message
for the Eagle, and Ratatosk
will zigzag up this time,
thinking of ways
to embellish Nídhögg’s words,
sow even more dissent.

At night he will curl up
in the moss and leaves
of his nest, tucked away
in Yggdrasil’s branches,
and snicker as he closes
his almond eyes. Tomorrow
he will begin again.

Kyla Neufeld is a poet, writer, and an editor at Geez magazine. Her work has appeared in The Winnipeg ReviewPrairie Books NOW!, and Area of Effect magazine. “Ratatosk” is from her series of poems, “A Field Guide to Norse Mythology.” She lives in Winnipeg.

To view other poems published in this issue please visit Vallum’s website.

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