You’ve seen that shaggy nonentity—an obvious female—step from the tree line into sunlight on a cold morning, watched her breath cloud, but never could find footprints in the frost.
You’ve examined that black bone on the beach—no doubt it was black and always had been, despite being whitened by scabrous gulls. No impossible beast from no matter how deep has such a rib to wash up on the shingle of consciousness. Right?
You’ve looked out the bedroom window, gawked at a silver chariot without wheels or horses, fit for a goddess, that hovered over the backyard one August night in the fifties. Too young—or maybe you’d have to be to process that data, your mind still supple enough for anomalies. Now you’d shatter like a dropped saucer.
And you’ve seen fire kindle itself above the muck—ignis fatuus, an unimaginably ethereal, translucent malachite gaze that drifted for awhile, aimlessly, and then began to fade. And then flickered and died.
You could go to your grave without ever accepting the water moccasin’s insinuations about you-know-what.
Without pawning the faux diamond back necklace that she refused.
You might easily avoid the escaped python’s embrace—as rare as love, after all.
And go nowhere near a cobra.
You could stand back from the black mamba’s dark abode and the boudoir of the asp with its velvet décor.
You might walk through tall grass for years, somewhere you should never go, and not step on so much as a garter snake.
Or reach into your sock drawer and not hear the rattle until it’s too late.
Don Thompson has been publishing poetry for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks. For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com.