there is a stillness in my bones
hands under my arms for warmth
i try not to move
to think…breathe
perhaps you will not notice me

curled up
in a small place
waiting, knowing you are there, basking lazily in the sunlight
just a few seconds of relief from thoughts
just a few seconds . . .

no matter
if i move or stay still
if i hold my breath or close my eyes
no matter

you’re there, wrapping your enormous body around mine
an entangled dance
squeezing other thoughts out
strangling emotions
whispering breathy words in my ears
talking conversationally about familiar failures
locking eyes with me in mock sympathy, “you poor, poor Thing”

words creep from your lips
sounds i cannot ignore
it milks my agony inside
and strikes with venomous bites, piercing skin

slithering between thoughts of joy
coiling around hints of a smile
devouring whole a skittering hope
charming others through my eyes

bathe and dress
work and cook
participate and talk
drive and walk

cry and rant alone
i keep my distance
at It’s insistence,
snake puppet



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