Seven Years
by Steve Klepetar

Seven years and seven mountains, dust
and heat enough to make this fine skin
crawl, that’s how long I’ve suffered
being seen a snake, how long I’ve slithered,
balancing my flat head against this long
spine, how long I’ve had to eat my dinner
whole. Seven years since she fed me roots
and kissed my ear and wound me round
her arm, a bracelet warm against
her moonlight flesh. Seven years since
she taught me to burrow deep into earth,
learning the notes of roots and black
tunnels and the sounds of dirt sliding
away, always away. Small feet scrabble
in the holes I fill. Seven years since she
and I were face to face, her black eyes
spinning like dark planets in some
strange, negative sky. With my tongue
I sniff the air, I’ve grown partial to stripes
and mice and icy music of waters trickling
down the rocks in spring. I’ve grown
used to being longer than I am
wide, always getting ahead of myself,
arriving places before anyone expects.
I lack appendages, my pride invested
fully in these red eyes, mint green scales,
long teeth sharp as ice picks, white as pearls.

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