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Poetry

Villanelle: In Spring Like Torpid Snakes My Enemies Awaken

Re Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.

Illustration by Ella Corder.

In Spring Like Torpid Snakes My Enemies Awaken

How do birds know to bathe in Spring?

The same way a mailman knows how to approach a front door so confidently.

I wander down the line slurping angelhair worms, dying for no reason.

Snake kisses me without consent.

I aim to strike him with my heel, but there is only the trail of pink gums and strawberries.

How do birds know to bathe? In Spring

I find him once more; he slides juicy down my scarlet throat.

He coils himself in stacked green onion-rings in my stomach; balanced now must

I wander down the line. Slurping angelhair worms dying for no reason,

Snake and I come to terms. I’m told to breathe slowly and ground myself,

burrow breast-deep in soil, let birds preen my eyes and rabbits gallop on my chest.

How do birds know? To bathe in Spring


is solace, but solace slips like a spaghetti strap off a shoulder.

I used to eat well and drive. I also used to not believe in prescription drugs.

I wander down the line slurping angelhair worms, dying. For no reason

in particular, Snake surfaces for fresh air, circles my neck and gives me a real Southern hug.

Sky turns salmon; cardinals become puddles of menstrual blood.

How do birds know to bathe in Spring?

I wander down the line, slurping angelhair. Worms dying for no reason.

By Ella

I am an undergraduate junior studying creative writing. I am interested in short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction and professional writing.

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