I thought I was done talking about the copperhead,
the arrow of its head that points as if to say,
“I choose you despite your anemic eyes
and attic sleeping place, chilled when the snow comes
as it comes every dark-lidded January.
You are no kind of heroine because you watch
the burned girl in class without ever speaking
two words to her.” Every part of that snake gleams
kettle-colored, hear the hiss that says, “I’m ready for you.”
And you deserve the punctures, the sweet choke, the too-far-for-help
because you shouldn’t have been there in that field,
too big to ever belong to a rag of a thing like you.
First appeared in Vinyl (Volume 6, July 2012). Reprinted by permission of the author.
Erica Wright is the author of the poetry collections All the Bayou Stories End with Drowned (Black Lawrence Press) and Instructions for Killing the Jackal (Black Lawrence Press). She is the poetry editor at Guernica Magazine as well as a former editorial board member of Alice James Books. Her latest novel is The Blue Kingfisher (Polis).