a little brown and white garter snake

lay on my brick floor

brought in by the cats

I picked it up to take it outside

and it lay still


it's markings were southwest woven

rugs from painted desert roadside stands

smooth and cool on my hand

tiny cloverleaf head

ended two spiral curls

of cool gauzy beaded rope


there are no signs of life

in small brick-basketed snakes

no rise and fall of breath

or distant vibration of heart

so I carried it with me

lying like prayer beads

between my fingers

towards the trees


suddenly a new beginning

after lying limp

exhausted by exertion

clawed and dragged

curled and cold 

came suddenly for the little snake


tongue flicking body stretching sliding

undoing intricate knots of its recent past

I turned and bent and circled

back to the bushes

to place my hand

flat open upon the earth 


it slithered silently away 

while I watched

then awaited

my own second chance

free-verselife and deathredemption

◄ Washed Away

At Noon ►


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