Snake(s) on our Bridge
And in the rut the many cars have made,
a tangle in the dusty afternoon ~
a wounded snake? Stillish, loosely knotted,
mottled mystery in the indentation
of car trips home and back, delivery trucks,
the traffic of each living day and night.
The snake is not harmed yet.
And when I crouch to see it clearly, I
find at first its tail grasped in its teeth,
mandala in the making, self-consuming
alchemy above our small bridged stream.
But wait again.
Outside my human myth,
this snake swallows another, smaller snake,
head first, only a black tail writhing. I
see now, or think I see ~ aftermath,
a meal, a long digestion. And can I
tease the needless from the needful death?
The half-gorged snake slides past my disgorged dream.
Dying, she asks if there’s a map for where
she’s going. That’s a good question for such
a moment. Heaven knows, the guides are few
enough, the focus precisely on where
(and not on how),
as if such a vast, such
an imponderable passage with few
signposts might be immaterial, the getting
there a getting on with it, our secular
selves at a loss. Bordo. Lethe. Last Rites.
Who shall we ask for the way?
propped up in the sun room, surely dreaming
raspberry canes and grapevines shorn for winter.
She is falling leaves. She is ebbed autumn light.
Who shall we ask for the way? Here’s Mary.