The Black Snake

Standing in the marsh,
worried that the black snake
may strike here.

In the city, understanding
how the black snake owns me,
shaking at the prospect of doing without.

On the road ahead of
the black snake’s fangs,
driving on nothing but poison and fear.

In the bank built of
black snake scales,
the money hissing in the vaults.

In the home of homes, here is
God above dressed in greasy robes,
black snake in his pocket.

I start a fire in the clearing
where the black snake rises and sways
just beyond the light.

A wash of calm: I realize
I can learn to eat without
the black snake, I suppose.

Starve myself a while to starve it.
The black snake starves without us
as much as we starve without the black snake.

Look: black snake bones
under the moon, white as 
a belief drained of its blood.

Listen: that’s not the black snake
hissing. Wind, perhaps. Water,
maybe. The sun, of course, is silent.

Taste and smell: no oil
on the tongue, no musk
of the black snake.

Feel the earth agreeing
with the departure of the black snake,
gone back underground now.

How clearly we can see now.
How easily we move on from this — 
upright. Not on our bellies. 

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

2 responses to “The Black Snake

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