That my spine were a serpent

June 16, 2020

to the earth a slate ceiling clung

I was in the desert alone

again

my reasons for coming had vanished

so seeking level ground

I wandered for a place to be

the body of the land longed 

for to chant a slow dirge

nothing was heard

each sagebrush a capillary

coursing with buried silence

from the hollow ground

to the onerous air

soon atop soft cliffs I sat 

watching valleys sink 

to monotone green below subdued grays 

all about me lay bones half buried

bearing desert sand and sun 

beating them to dust 

at once the sky began to break 

exposing towering clouds in long blue windows

the sun appeared in the day's final moment

but there was no rebirth here

clouds of old bones now dust

swirled and lifted by sudden winds

blotted out the light

and in to the night

wave upon wave of dust rose and passed 

measured 

a ritualistic marching of timeless demise

if dreams came they were forgotten

I lay awake as my shelter shook with each passing fury

the following morning all was still

the desert had not consumed me

in the silence I walked across the grasses

there entwined at my feet lay a snake skin 

complete as the serpent shed it

by my own hand my skin was never shed

just as the measured waves of fury the night before

how many times I had restarted in life 

reimagining myself

each time adding to the skin around my being

callusing instead of shedding

 

-Edmond Deraedt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~words and images copyright Edmond Deraedt 2020

 

 

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