• Sue Proffitt

Snakeskin

Tissued ribbon. Something flayed

in the dust, the blinding burn of sun,

scorched bougainvillea petals,

hot red flares of hibiscus, scuttles

of lizards. Frayed rope flung

at my feet. Some unseen muscle

has sloughed itself free

even its eyes – yes – holding it

delicately (friable as flaking stone)

the small narrow head holds

two sockets, clear plastic capsules

snapped open – how can this be,

peeling your eyes away?

Imagine the seconds

before hardening, glistening

like calf-slicked after-birth,

a sudden hot wind flinging dust

in your eyes, fumbling away

gritted? No. You would close

them, risk temporary blindness

for clear vision, feeling not seeing

your molten skin set, seal you in

like a sheath before, fluid,

utterly new, eyes open

on a just-born morning

every flower ignited and

in a sudden flick and ripple,

leave your body behind.

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