Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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How to Swallow the Snake

Start by gauging its length and your esophagus.

Examine skin and fangs.
Refuse to spit it out.

Counter the gag reflex with lavender honey.

Many people have sisters. They don’t all
marry the right men.

Count the good times on one hand.

And finger the memories like rosary beads.

Your family’s beliefs were touching
and involved kneeling in front of statues.

O blessed Virgin Mary.

How many sisters do you have,
someone asks.

Tell them one passed away.
Tell them another one’s ailing.

Light the liturgical candles.
Get down on your knees.  

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