SNAKE HANDLER

ROBERT BEVERIDGE

 
 

Midsummer. Western

Pennsylvania, and children

not old enough

to know better.

 
Beneath the silver

thick leg of the powerline
the child played

sometimes with her sister

more often alone.

 
A nest of rattlers

took up residence

in a hollow one day.

 
The child’s mother

called her for dinner

went to find her

came upon

 
her child, eyes alight

and air full of laughter,

rattlers twined around

her arms and legs,

tails silent.

 
“Can I keep them?”

 
Her mother turned, ran

to call the pastor.

 

 
 

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