Today's poem is by Ellen Doré Watson

Free Will

It's there for the taking, like wild blueberries—
a trifle more sour than we remember. It's what we
grown-ups teach our children, taking a machete
to excuses. It's about choice—the sky's the limit,
blah blah, no price tag but beware the price. Once

upon a time a boy wandered off to a stony place
and found himself surrounded by snakes who
happened to be discussing free will. Do you need
to ask what happened? Does it matter that he died
a wiser boy? Does it interest you that the head snake

was the dissenter, urging restraint—would it change
anything to know that the snake who did the choking or
unleashed his poison (we weren't there, the latitude's
not specified) had been abandoned in the egg, taunted
in his youth, had prior knowledge of the boy's stick-

wielding ways and pointed scorn towards reptiles?
Would you breathe easier to know the other snakes
took to shunning or ate his children, turned him over
bloody to the authorities, or if he felt a little sorry?
All a yes proves is you're not that boy's mother.

Copyright © 2006 Ellen Doré Watson All rights reserved
from This Sharpening
Tupelo Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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