In Sleep the Brain Retrieves a Snake
The mind rallies its fragments:
a Safeway stock boy
my car an empty television box.
the return of the snake
sliding through my house, a lean-to
made of cambio receipts
and not in Arizona but in Maine
on a beach in the off season.
Of course I know
this snake, the scene
from which it was extracted.
The girl from San Francisco
with the bracelets and cigarettes
passes a bag of pineapple
slick and leaking
from her hammock to mine.
She was waiting for the boy in India.
I was waiting
for a balloon version of myself
to part a seam in the sky.
falling through what passed for a roof
was the snake.
It coiled and flapped on the cement slab
its skin synthetic green.
I reached to touch it
so cool so heavy
that slippery stand-in
for some category of dark.
Fordham University Press
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Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission