The pickup truck lurched as
he stepped on the brakes, even at
our dirt-road speed, and said,
stay here in the cab and
armed with a shotgun he grabbed
from the back, approached the reptile
stretched across the road, took aim and
fired a solid shot into its head,
jerking the body into contortions as it
rose into the air and fell back to the dirt
from whence it came.
Then he took her, my precious, my wonder
and innocent, and walked her to the place where
the body lay in pious curves; stooped low to
the ground and pointed as she stared at the
flesh, the scales, the fangs; listened as he shook
the awful, chilling rattles; warned her,
our solemn faced cherub, of the death that it
might bring her as I prayed, Lord, please, close
her eyes to his serpentine beauty, please, blind her
to his awful God-created glory, his jewel-patterned
skin and golden glint and freeze her heart to
the desire to follow his lies down that
wicked garden path;
and so we both protect her, as best we can.
Author’s Notes: This is a memoir poem. I hate snakes with a passion and when my husband helped our granddaughter out of the pickup to show her what a dead diamondback looked like up close, to warn and caution her, I freaked out. I knew he was right, but my fear would not even let me get out of the cab. I won’t even post a photo of a snake. Later, I wrote this poem.
It went on to win First Place from the Gulf Coast Writers Association in Gulfport, Mississippi in their “Let’s Write” Annual Literary Writing Contest in 2011, First Place in the Northern Colorado Writers annual poetry contest, also in 2011, an Honorable Mention from the San Antonio Poetry Fair in 2012, and Second Place from the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, also in 2012.
Sally's first publication for children is "Where's My Hug?" a lift-the-flap board book published by WorthyKids/Ideals. Buy it for a child you love.