POEM in PROGRESS: SNAKE

It’s April, which means, among other things, that it’s National Poetry Month!

While I’m getting excited to start working on editing my new collection due out this fall from Gaspereau Press, I’ve also finally gotten back to trying to write a few new pieces.

Here’s a somewhat worked through draft of a new poem that takes a less-than-flattering common phrase that caught my ear in the context of a water cooler-type reference conversation one day at work and plays off of the phrase itself and how its literal and figurative meanings can intersect when the mind wanders, especially if you’ve ever run over a garter snake with your lawnmower at some point in your life. Enjoy.

SNAKE

 

 

                  A snake in the grass,

she said. How apt, I thought—its hissing head

then again severed, all picture-windowed,

again, these years later: torqued & blade-flung from

that summer’s mown whirr; crassly

horked & blood gartered—briefly, ungainly—along the glared panes

of spent youth’s two-stroke take on what

conjured nostalgia might educe was at stake, have

to give in the way of suggestion, recommend.            

                    A field work. On how memory can moult,

shed its skin; on how narrative arcs plan revolts—

overthrow their own terms of reference

& begin to eat their own tails.           This breakroom chat

has us rapt, all attention.               There are times

recollection’s a small forked-tongued thing,

a spit skull forlornly suspended

by the slick ligatures of its own sudden lace (leaking across the once-pristine

face of the house you think you grew up in).

Times it’s a guillotined snake. An uneasy whole, at least bifurcated,

but no longer missing: a few feet away, the rest of it

lawn-essed in place, torn & unspooling. Bloodied & strewn, this

butcher’s best guess is a now-cooling violence: A mistake. In the past. Just

a snake in the grass.

 

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