Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Life with Rats

I have been reading, Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. It depicts the details of life in the South Bronx. I have found it to be very intriguing, perplexing and gracefully written. Here is an excerpt, though, it is graphic:

[“ You see them earlier than afternoon,” she says. “These rats are fearless. Light don’t scare them. Noise don’t scare them. You can see them in the park at noon.”

…She tells me of a seven-month-old boy who was attacked three blocks away from here a month before by several rats that climbed into his crib. Doctor said he hadn’t seen bite marks like that in years. The baby’s fingers were all bloody. I think it was the third time that his baby was attacked. His mother’s terrified but can’t move out. The city put her in the building and she don’t have any money to move somewhere else.

… “Something’s happened. They’re resistant to the poison that the Board of Health lays down. They get swollen with the poison but it doesn’t seem to kill them. They live in the dirty water. They look like they’re all blown up, like if you pricked them they’d explode. Sharp little claws. I’ve seen them walk right up a tree like they were walkin’ on the ground.

…The rats, she says, have a frightening meaning for some of the more religious people in the neighborhood. “This Puerto Rican lady says that rats are s’posed to come before Armageddon. You hear a lot of people talkin’ of Armageddon. Bible says that there will be 10,000 rats for every person.

… “I ain’t sayin’ I believe it. I’m just sayin’ what the Bible says… 10,000 rats per person.” Smiling, she adds, “If that’s the truth, we must be gettin’ close.”]

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