A snake in the first days of springtime came

riding the hot blacktop before my feet,

the gravel beneath like many wheeled logs

conveying her caravan of soft scales.

I stooped to my knees, my nose over her,

and saw that she was shedding for April,

a plastic coat of winter down her neck

rolled like unbuttoned cuffs up the elbows.

She steered like a bend in a river,

her muscles waves breaking inside of her,

and old, accordion flesh peeling back,

revealing her other self, slick and black.

I watched the train of loose skin slide over

that new flesh, tugging at the tenderness,

the soft, blanket warmth of flesh upon flesh,

and saw the cold breath of the desert wind

engorging her white, gelatinous eyes.


Her body gone, she was naked as Eve,

climbing weakly to safety, the old dress

thrown and curling in the heat behind her.

She quickened her pace over my fingers,

wary of new touch but recalling how

very much like old touch it seems to be.

And the plated gel of her flesh to me

was memories of loves I did not know.

Where and when shall my own dress be thrown?

And who will strip me naked before them

that I may be new, for him and myself?

It will be like this garter coming out

the tunnel of herself after winter,

always new yet herself always unchanged.

How damp her eyes, yet not having cried,

how easy she writhes, leaving herself behind.

R. Charboneau

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