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Archive for Sunday, June 28, 2009

Poet’s showcase

June 28, 2009

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‘A Stranger In My Garden’

By Betty Laird


Eyes glinting, tongue flicking, he lies coiled

by my garden fence. The hairs on my neck

rise. How dare he invade my sanctuary?!

I did not invite him! Go away, Snake!


But, pupils glinting in the sun, he does not go.

A slit along his tail exposes oozing tissue.

A careless mower, perhaps? Or dropped

by an errant hawk, he has sought refuge

in my garden?


Refuge? No! Go away, Snake! Your slithering

presence is not wanted here, contaminating

my roses and sweet basil. But tongue-testing

the air for danger, he does not go.


So I leave him. He is no threat to me. In time,

we may become friends. He will catch

bugs. I will step cautiously. Perhaps God sent

him to me, to my tiny Eden. I feel, somehow, ...

dare I say it? ... privileged?


The snake has moved. He now lies beneath

my lavender, sheltered from the sun, head lifted

slightly. But wait! His eyes, no longer glinting,

are glazed. He is dead.


“No!” I cry. “This is not fair! I had accepted

him. He was mine!”

But he was God’s, and my sense of loss

is palpable.

Betty Laird lives in Lawrence.

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