The Snake

It had found a brother,

a branch to stretch against.

Both were gray with black argyle but the branch’s
random scabs of bark fell short of pattern.

And the branch didn’t swell in slow motion
like its thicker twin,

as a twitching rodent bulge passed barge-like, expanding,
then deflating the diamond skin

in glacial time, the snake’s black head pointing,
like a finger in warning,

eyes dull with process
that would go on at a pace painful only to us.

We turned and looked away as in that dream
where you’re naked before a sea of eyes.

You cover yourself with both hands,
not godlike or dressed in fig leaf but

graceless, desperate to conceal.
And you run away squirming as people do

when they must escape, clutching their shame,
the only part of the dream that is ever real.