Ringneck Snake, Lake Acworth Trail
Christopher Martin

When asked, I emphasize the weight I’ve lost,
say nothing of how it really is sadness
that sends me running, some worry flooding
this skin, needing to seep with sweat,
some soreness I need to feel release.

I say nothing of thoughts of death
and the passing of things, thoughts
that assail and encompass all like this wind
moving in early winter, through which I move.

I say nothing of my children back home,
of how they stretch with me each time I leave,
of how they touch my cold hands and face
each time I return, of how each moment flees.

I say nothing of the ringneck snake
I saw lying nearly dormant on the concrete trail
by the cove at the end of a run. I say nothing
of the way the snake did not react to my presence
until I touched it, lifted it level to my beating chest
as it wove between my fingers,
wrapped around my wrist.

I say nothing of how I let it go,
watched it turn away to face another thing,
gold seam on its coal body disappearing
in weeds and leaf rot, finding shelter
in all the living and the dead
given to the understory. 

Return to Spring 2014 Table of Contents