The Nature of Vipers
I was born on the dark side
in the year of the snake.
When I slept coiled,
my knees grazed my chin.
As I grew, I sunned myself,
stretched in the arms of bad men.
I kissed the lips of cottonmouths,
sipped their venom and whiskey words.
The gossips said I shed skin after skin,
and tacked them on my bedroom walls.
Tales about me plumped with lies,
spread across back roads where I rested.
In the heat of August days, I savored
the true dangers of the raised rattle.
—Carol Carpenter, Livonia, MI