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In Sleep the Brain Retrieves a Snake

The mind rallies its fragments:
my sister
         a Safeway stock boy
my car an empty television box.
         And recently
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.

The thump
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.

Sara Michas-Martin

Gray Matter
Fordham University Press

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