Monday, April 20, 2009

Ada's #18

Live Longer, Snake   

I’m talking to my brother on the phone
in the backyard of my parent’s house, blue-belly 
lizard on the picket, two donkeys, Cisco and Garbo, 
guzzle water near the oak tree. I’m sad because 
my stepdad is so sick that he’s not coming to the 
reading, and it’s okay, he’s had a bad day, and 
everyone knew he might not go, and it’s okay. 
And I’m crying a little and my brother understands 
but I feel stupid, the child he’s picked up a million 
times from school and made happy, can’t make him 
happy. Can barely hide her hot tears from the  
bummed-out barn animals. I feel not just stupid, 
but ineffectual, as a drug that does not work gets 
pulled off the market. And just then a snake in the grass, 
not a metaphor, just a real snake, half in the hole, half 
out of the hole. I almost crush his head. I shout and then I 
get close in, he’s not a rattler, he’s a good non-dangerous 
vermin-eating snake, and I love him. I sit for awhile 
by the overgrown swiss chard and the mountainous pile 
of cuttings and weeds and want to make this snake love me 
back, want to make it have a nice life, want to hide it 
from the mowers blades and protect it from hawk’s 
quick-cutting claws, want to make this snake live longer 
than me, or rather, I prefer to die first, want to slip under 
while watching this snake slink beautifully on and on.

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