the Great Snake
must have
made a slow glide
down the river
last night
’cause this morning
the ice is gone
river cleft wide
for gawking commuters
as if
people never before
saw the river flow

just like that
the mean ass beast
passes us by
in our sleep
delivering its
tender minstrations
to the waters

it’s a humming
thing of copper and all intent
stirring the water
liquid breath
held in
against itself
until scales breach the
horizontal wall
then the bound and gagged
currents are sprung from
short time

from Snake’s horns
fly blue
electric shocks
blowing out life
stored in air pockets
muddy nests
shallow cells
listless and obedient
the tiny beings float
under sunlight’s drug
become maybe a meal
maybe a thing that flies
in the serpent’s wake
spirits yawn
stretch out chilly kink

and cricks
blink murkey eyes at
the coming dawn
when they don’t find
offerings of tobacco
or cloth or lard or berries
they’ll satisfy themselves
on what
they can pinch

while we sleep
winter comfort sleep
mud-green eyes
spy the weakness of our
brittle structures
Snake knows better
than a city engineer
the skin the bones the blood
under our foundations

and when we awake
to spring
we shake off
the dreams we
need to remember
other rules
while natural law
goes on
we interpret
our waking lives


AP: “He was always picking up strays, boys in men’s bodies with broken wings or spirits, or about to go into jail the next day, or just too drunk, and tend to them with a motherly gentleness that belied his original intent”