A snake in winter
I stumbled upon it, tucked away
under a heap of rotted leaves
coiled at my feet
a winter sleep disturbed
into troubled wakefulness
snake eyes, light-startled chinks
a fanged arousal.
This sluggish somnambulist
countermands a lethal strike
a loath untangling of senses, a quarter twist –
tongue slithers trace its distinctive hiss
and mask the froth of venom
spilling fear where
it has never shown itself before.
The hypnotist’s trance undone
the cobra swerves a soundless trail for cover
where its cold skin will eventually slough off
like brittle parchment.
The smell of musk is all I take away.
Comments about this poem (A snake in winter by Julian De Wette )
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