Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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In Defense of Ophidia

Some species exhibit well,
the Appalachian Triumvirate

for example, rattlesnake,
cottonmouth, copperhead.

But the Amazonians are cramped
with nothing to defend,

nothing to test
the circumference of their jaws.

(Now the goat.
Now the child. At seven. At ten.)

If you’re playing at the base
of a hollowed oak,

if you’re climbing up the hayrack,
or turning thirteen and protecting

the front-porch infant,
pity Cleopatra,

but pity too
the means of execution.

No edges, these creatures,
only curls of body

so that everywhere they touch
is intimate.  end

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