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Snake In the Grass

By John I. Blair

Where I live the only snakes I ever meet
Are little ones that hide in leaves to flee the heat
And search between grass stems for bugs to eat.

They scale below the scary size for snakes,
So when I see one glide my first reaction
Is to pick it up for close inspection.

How beautiful the shiny skin and tiny eyes,
The pointed nose for poking into soil and probing plants,
The forked tongue questioning the air for scents.

It curls up in my warm palm, poised and calm,
Muscular and smooth, a pleasure there to see,
Evidently unafraid of something big as me.

And yet, if it were five times larger I'd be cautious;
Ten times and I would give it yards of space.
Clearly, when I'm judging snakes, size has its place.

2002 John I. Blair  

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