When A Snake Bites
You In The Ass
When a snake bites you in the ass
The nurses won't let you sit in the
Waiting room. They put you on
Your back and show you a chart
Of 137 poisonous snakes and ask
Which one was the culprit.
For a split second of communion
Running through your bloodstream
You don't want to turn it in. The
One you pick out is always one of
The most venomous and deadly in
Your vicinity. They give you a
Stabbing shot right in the middle of
The fang print and you must rest on
Your side until the nausea, dizziness,
Blurred vision, tremors subside.
They warn you not to drink as this
Will counteract the anti-venom.
Then you stagger to your car which
They warned you not to drive and
Weave your way to the nearest bar.
A round of rattlesnakes for everyone!
You slither every inch of the room,
Coil in the darkest corner, sniff the
Air for the one with the deepest fear,
Flick your gold tongue for body
Temperature, listen for respiration.
Your fangs milk themselves on a
Shot glass and suddenly you can
Fuck with your eyes and kill with a
Smile and you wait because somehow
You know the most delicious skin is
Puppeteered by telepathy. Ah, the
Sweet twitching surrender of the one
Who sees your ambivalent eyes, feels
Your icy flesh and charges down on
You with full consent and nakedness.


I am dragged through a forest
Of bent cobalt willows
To the cobblestone house
I have seen in nightmares
Pink fence so inviting
Tiger lilies in the window box
You would never guess what
Goes on there.
I fight all the way, leaving
Threads of my red satin dress
On every branch in my path
Thinking of the search party.
Pay attention,
You will see
The way I have come.
The house is icy, gray.
I slip on the wet clay floor.
Every day a new torture
Drowning, electric shock
Russian roulette.
During an especially brutal
I tear the mask from the
It is me, one of the many
Parts of myself
The unspeakably
Damaged one
Wanting love.

(c) 2002 Rebecca Lu Kiernan
Rebecca Lu Kiernan

Edits the print journal, GECKO. Her fiction has been widely published, and is upcoming in ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION and NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW. Her collection of poetry, "Sex With Trees And Other Things Equally Responsive" was released from 2River Press and can be viewed at www.2river.org