Snake Tree
by Jayne Marek

Serpents curled together in a bush,
so many snakes we could not count them
in such a complete embrace
light could not slide its blade between
bodies and the supporting branch,
and for a moment none of us breathed,

our hands knotted in pockets
although May was warm, coming to itself
in leaves the size of snakes’ eyes,
and warblers nearby sang and piped
about the spring journey they had taken
to blossom in these trees, near those snouts.

And the snakes, whose intimate twining
had to happen, did not for the moment
follow the tiny birds, intent
as we all were on the difficult power
of seasons, being worked out underneath
shifting scales of light.