by Matthew Schmidt
ate a gigantic rat with a tail
long as his body.
belched loud as his rattle.
binge-watched the river
through water-logged boulders.
hissed into the canopy of trees.
Jake felt like ten million
baby snakes in one adult serpent:
eye holes and eyes in every pore
of his reptilian sheath.
Years like a forked-tongue flick.
Asp days. Anaconda nights.
Somewhere in the forest Jake’s parents
weep and slough their skin.
Jake sends them an anniversary card:
“Happy One Hundredth Shedding.”
He isn’t your average snake,
he’s a little above or below.
His tree’s bark smooth as baby.
Stout broom of a branch he sweeps
onto at night. To dream in coils
like he was the seven days left of the world.
Matthew Schmidt is working on a PhD in English at the University of Southern Mississippi. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in 3:AM, Hobart, Poetry South, Territory, and elsewhere. He is an associate poetry editor at Fairy Tale Review.