George Witte

Ceremony

The snake lay in state like a king
Slabbed on limestone, overlooking
The river he hunted and ruled.
His mail glittered copper and gold
With dew, for the morning was cool,
That pooled into watering holes
On the pitted stone.It seemed
He would rise when the damp bier steamed
Like a pyre catching flame—the wood
Hushed its breath, the sleek mice he'd kill
Held still beneath roots—but a wind
Bearing five small white butterflies
Blew the fire out; they unfastened
His skin and stripped him down to size
And, firm slender mouths probing, mined
The warm hive of the inner core.
Vanished, as if they never were.


From The Apparitioners (Three Rail Press,2005)

Topic(s) of this poem: animals, nature, snake

Poem Submitted: Friday, December 6, 2019

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