The Day of the Snake
By William Doreski
On the Day of the Snake you brew
a pot of weak yellow coffee
and toast healthy whole wheat toast
and read every word of the Times.
Meanwhile in liquid autumn light
I walk five miles to realign
muscle and bone and spirit.
We should mourn citizens dead
of virus and partisan lies,
the drought-stricken districts,
the cities riven by fault lines;
but sunlight burnishes every
exposed surface, smoothing away
both public and private grief.
A waterfall, stark exclamation,
shivers down a sluice of rock
and gargles into a bottomless pool.
I try to inhale its essence,
but leaf decay taints the mist
and I turn away so abruptly
I drop my gloves in the stream.
When I get home, you’ll insist
I read the political stories
that will singe me all over and scar
tiny crescents into my brain.
When I remind you of the date
you’ll claim that Snake Day occurs
in July, but I know better.
Five miles isn’t far enough
to loosen my frozen joints.
I shouldn’t stop walking until
hibernation, when with all
the other reptile minds I shut
my shutters to exclude the world
and cuddle alone with myself.
Copyright © 2021 by William Doreski.