The Snake that Bit You

If something hurts you really bad
make an icon of it and put it in your sanctuary
hang it from the mirror of your car
or tuck it next to the pillow of your bed

Record the sickening thud and play it
until you fall peacefully asleep
Recall the heat of that searing shame
until it wells up in you like a cool breath

And if a poisonous snake should bite you
make a bronze cast of it and put it in a high place
Then raise your eyes to it considering well
that you are still alive, though changed

See the gaps where you have bled and
take the stitches from your closed wounds
weaving them into a mantle that you wear
for your morning and evening prayer

And if grace and goodness should require
that you look into the eyes of certain death
recall the transformations you have known
and go there knowing well…

© Anne Benvenuti 2006
Published in We’Moon Calendar, Mother Tongue Ink: 2008

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