Saturday, January 2, 2016

Endangered: published in The North 2015

Endangered was written by a swimming pool on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam on our trip to Tanzania in 2014


a pretty slip of a thing
purest green serpentine
slithers past my bare foot
lithe on warm sandstone
to whip up the leg
of the next sun-bed

... in the circumstances
in the situation of the hotel pool
the children playing on the edge ...

though I am also enchanted
and in the lightning moment
think it is the harmless kind
that lives under rafters, not
the green mamba ... but I know
(I still see a thin loop of him now,
in the shade of the mattress)
that I will not lie on a bed
with a slinky young snake beside me, so
with a look to the woman serving drinks,
I betray him. The Masai!
she shrills, as her tray sways
and steadies, and the Masai guard
is here with nagual speed, dapper 
in red wraps, bone anklets, machete erect.
I won't look to where excited children gather
around the limp thing in his hand.

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