Wednesday, September 20, 2017

An Amanda Joy Poem





Your Ground


Its tongue
is the only thing moving
A striking distance
from your face
Sharp arc of snake
head flared with venom
A totemic weight
posted darkly in
suddenness of
grizzled air between you
Your body in mirrored freeze
still on your knees
swiveled from a lizard
you were attempting to capture
on a fistful of phone
Your jaws both clamped
over a rising silence
Wind is a litany of hiss
through grass and it arrives
at your eyeballs and the blink
brings release
snake melts toward the earth
its wilding light
shines and slides
A spilled surface of black
slick on the grit
The anthropologist
you were walking with
is bounding up behind you
and again the snake rears
yellow belly showing no fear
withers into twisting away
through underscrub
like an escape but slower
The luminous trance stays
for more than months
(you still cant remember
standing)
The psychologist says
your ego died (for
a few unsplit seconds)
Your friend, an elder
from Broome explains the snake
is your guardian
painting its likeness in repose
on bark you once fed a red
tailed cockatoo from
You hang it above
your writing desk
And for a while
it all makes sense
The brute matter
how dangerous you are
how safe
the circuitous journey
Then one morning you get it~
That paired wisdom
your bodies made


Snake says
Be still
Stand your ground
It’s the only protection
we have


(2017)

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