JS (01/26/60 / Colorado Springs)

Snakes Never Stray Far From Their Mates

(for Daddy George)

A fact of nature, you said
Poised and ready to strike again
As we watched the Night Adder die,
Writhing its blood back and forth
Across the floor in front of my dresser.
There's always a mate nearby, you said
And I hated you
For making me clean my room anyway.

Then came the psychotic game I played.
Where would the next be found?
At my feet?
Wrapped around the toilet seat?
Or maybe
Lured to my bed by body heat
Like the stories I'd heard.

I should have known,
Two weeks to the day
On the very same spot,
Once again
A taste of blood
Pasted hot on the floor.
I waited by the door
Until I knew by your breathing
Another was dead,
Relieved there were no more.

Unless there are eggs, you said.

1990

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