Jan/Feb 2007 Poetry

The Snake

by Leonore Wilson

Artwork by Ira Joel Haber

The Snake

Slept like fallen thought inside the petals, under the drunken
           camellia bush and it bothered no one,

not the old cat clinging
           to the stream of forever, panting, moving slowly over the damaged deck

where the hard shell of a month-gone slug was fed upon by its living twin.
           The snake with the image of the broken cosmos on its skin,

whorls of glory: two-toned bodies, some in dark, some in radiance, a fugitive gold.

Failed to rattle when the dog barked, didn't raise its head to affirm itself; no
           tongue flame with a druid hiss, no eyes narrowing like the edges of chaos.

The animal lay there like the draft of a poem.

The sun protected it like a child; the shadows drew near it like a sister.
           Knowledge as innocence, beast that sheds its transparency

and grows another silken chasuble, a cape.

What made me take my rage out into the world, who made me grab the shovel,
           who had wounded me, brought up my oppression?

The iron handle was pure alchemy, the blade sharp as the split in things...

so when I stabbed the scribbled lord, I thought it would be easy, but no!
           trapped flesh does not give, hurt shape of the world

coiled, then stretching everywhere before me.


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