(24 June 1842 - 26 December 1913 / Horse Cave Creek, Ohio)

The Viper Was You

An albino viper bit me on my left foot the other night.
I felt my blood getting hotter.
I felt my temperature rise.
I was too tired to move…hoping it would get better.

My friends came over and drained the poison.
Then I circled around the snake to kill it.
It kept escaping my blows.
She just kept striking towards me…we would go back and forth.

I caught a wild coyote in the process.
But it was not so wild after all…it just wanted to play.
I had no time to play, so I pushed her aside.
I had to catch this viper.

Finally, after some time, I caught that serpent.
I took her to my place and locked her up in my terrarium.
I tried to tame her, but she only allowed me so much space.
She just wanted to be on display…look, but don't touch!

Some days, the viper would let me touch her tail…but only for a second.
Then she would lash out at me with a vengeance.
She trusted no one! She must have had an abusive past.
The more I tried to tame her, the more irritated she became.

I'm getting tired of her attitude.
I'm getting tired of cleaning up her shit.
Her poison made me stronger.
But her actions make me sick of her.

Today, I released her back into the wild.
She may now roam freely in the hills of Palos Verdes.
No one will catch her now.
She will die like the others…and I will have forgotten all about her.

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Maya Angelou

Caged Bird

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