At Narcisse, the woman hunkers down at the fence
her face covered by a large hat festooned
with ribbons. She offers pink fingertips
& the dry meat of her palms
to the small questing female in the trees
(her lovers shoelace-thin
The snake aspires to the sheer bedrock
climbs of her older sisters, fat black hoses
in the middle of mating balls
making their way up
then tumbling down tumbling down
but she is still young & has rushed through stiff
grasses & dry leaves in pursuit of
in evasion of this rough & tumble spring:
she sees the easier green swath
on the other side of the fence
& makes for it.
The woman offers the ability to shuffle
on her haunches & a wilingness
to shoo boys away (her too-pale nephew, his mouth
ringed with orange crush, set to pounce): Leave her alone!
The snake is turned back but the males sulking
too close to the chain link are sacrificed to pre-teens
with dyed hair & clarion voices who twine snakes
around fingers (the snakes muster
a sign language of nooses & sibilant curses
but are otherwise silent).
At the edge of the parking lot, the woman stands
beside her sister & her sister’s children
who eat from tupperware & whine
about dirty knees.
After her stint at the fence
the woman rushed back to the car,
the air smelling of rain & dead snakes.