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The Snake

ISSUE:  Spring 2021


I found a black snake on the porch, its body so 
still I didn’t dare breathe. Lungs arrested, I might 
have left my body then. It was long, a rope I could 
Double Dutch, a tilde underneath every word I try 
to love differently. As it slowly shifted, ripples of real 
silk, it lifted its head testing the meaty air, moving along 
the side of the house, and I couldn’t help but think 
it looked exactly like that arcade game of snake I used 
to play, desperately darting walls, and I backed away, 
thinking: How can a snake be this long, how can 
it be so slender, how I almost grew envious of 
its slender body, at once elegant and unnerving, 
as I backed away, very aware of my city stench, 
and huddled back inside, closing the door, latching 
it, looking again at the door to make sure it couldn’t slip 
in like my fear of men slipping in unwanted, breath
smelling of cabbage and cologne, and then I looked out 
the window and felt almost sorry for the snake, for 
tying it to that terrible fear, memory. I wondered if 
it could feel the weight of that onyx guilt, wondered if that 
was why it sorrow-sauntered toward me, toward the door, 
making peace eyes though I knew it was blind as all hell, and still 
I’m sorry to say, I feared it. Such gut-sick fear and was it my fault? 
I imagined its body pressed against the bottom edge of the door, 
a thin, black line now protective of me, a no-go line, a bold underline, 
its little tongue flickering out to each mosquito, each wasp, each fear of mine 
collected in a knock, bearing its no-fangs, saying: You better leave her alone or else.


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