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(Part II of III)

Many years ago, my dog caught a big, fat snake in the backyard.

She carried it back to the front yard

Like a trophy

It writhed in her mouth and my other dog snapped

At it, wanting to share

In the glory


My mother shouted at them to drop it

In disappointment, they released the snake

And trotted back to the field


Don’t touch that, my mother probably said

But when she went inside, I lifted the snake

In two hands and carried it to where the pine trees arched over the fence

To create a shaded tunnel

Where I sat on the bouncy strings of the rusty

Contraption that I had been told was once

For drying laundry and stared at the snake


It didn’t object to being held

In my gentle hands.

I watched it, murmuring encouragement

And apologies as it rested

Stretched across my palms. My dog

Had punctured the snake with the sharpest

Of her dull teeth


Come in for lunch, my mother probably called down

From the high kitchen window


I know now that snakes have

No ears and therefore cannot hear

My words of comfort. But I would still speak them anyway,

Because snakes do have eyes and maybe they can read lips

When I tell them good luck.

And snakes can feel vibrations and sense heat,

So maybe they can feel my heartbeat and maybe my warmth reminds them of



I eased the snake onto the ground and wished it

Well. It slithered into the tall grass and, I imagine,

Into snake-heaven--though I didn’t consider this

At the time. I figured its skin would grow back.

I tried not to look at the wet dirt

Where the snake had coughed up its stomach.

©Kaylee Schuler

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