Year of the Snake
He glides his long years cycle
through wild growth of nebulae
and dusty clouds of dying stars
He senses distant vibrations
hears the gong that strikes
the new year, settles in at midnight
weaving his lithe self through narrow streets
an almost-felt rustle of air.
He nestles behind dusky hills
green eyes watching
from every crooked branch.
She smiles, anxious, as she strains
to hear the unsaid
mimics the minuet he abandons
gliding with practiced steps
to a distant tune
where he falls in with nonchalance
to new moves
a bow and a scrape to other dreams
while hers settle in dust around her.
To be clear
the danger was not the tree itself
but its heavy, plump fruit
just out of reach
branches sagging with it.
Reds burst against green leaves
blues shadowed depths, skies were summer-scented,
it was all firm flesh waiting, patiently,
to fall ripe, into outstretched hands.
Snake stifled a yawn, perfectly bored
on this perfect afternoon, slithered
up rough bark with heavy grace
coiled the lowest branch
bent its suppleness to brush a passing cheek
and the rest, as they say, is history.
JANET BUTLER lives in the Bay Area and enjoys the Mediterranean climate as well as the various art and lit activities available. Some current or forthcoming publications are The Tipton Poetry Journal, Floodwall, and Ascent Aspirations. Searching for Eden was published in early 2012 by Finishing Line Press, and Upheaval was recently selected as one of three winning chapbooks in the Red Ochre Press 2012 Chapbook Contest.