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Snake Analysis

Author: Poetry of John Burnside Type: Poetry Views: 197

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As cats bring their smiling

mouse-kills and hypnotised birds,slinking home under the lightof a summer's morning

to offer the gift of a corpse,you carry home the snake you thoughtwas sunning itself on a rock

at the river's edge:sun-fretted, gracile,

it shimmies and sways in your handslike a muscle of light,

and you gather it up like a braidfor my admiration.I can't shake the old wife's talethat snakes never die,

they hang in a seamless dreamof frogskin and water,

preserving a ribbon of heatin a bone or a vein,

a cold-blooded creature'spromise of resurrection,and I'm amazed to see you shuffle off

the woman I've know for years,

tracing the lithe, hard body, the hinge of the jaw,the tension where sex might be, that I always assumeis neuter, when I walk our muffled house

at nightfall, throwing switches, locking doors.


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