Snake Bit

Snake Bit

Jenga’s snake bit. A rattler
sunning out back of the woodpile.
Killed with a shovel, head tossed
in the ditch with the others.
Not much bigger than her. What you get
with a Chihuahua you rescue
at the Las Truchas rest stop.
Me and my big old heart.
Told her once, told her a million times.
Harriette thinks on sucking out the poison.
Shave the leg, bleed the wound, lips to skin, she says.
There’s something more than mothering in her eye.
Something dangerous. Does it taste, she wants to know,
like acid? Like some kind of sweet thing with an edge?
Like when you lick a battery in a lightening storm?
As if I’d know. Her business.
Jenga limps now, hobbling around the yard. She’ll live
as long as the venom stalls and don’t swim
straight for her heart. Wicked little cur, though.
Might take the poison deep, make it her own.
Bitch like her? You never know.

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