just as she begins to speak, a blade
of molten light lays down to bleach
an airless veranda’s feathered teak.
the first for weeks to breach this cage
of crooked laths. beneath the tongues
of drooling palms, a flemish flake of brass-
necked snake unwinds itself to hunt
the warmth. her sheath of scales made
shabby by the moult of growth, the chore
of metamorphosis. i hear the hiss of her
cris de coeur; the ache of her costume
nipping at the ribs. a snake in her prime
abandoning her skin, shaking it off
like the gesture of belonging.
1 September 2013