Today's poem is by Melanie McCabe

In These Woods

Pretty viper, once coiled
in my belly's fist, harmless
as a pinkie toe—now you lengthen
to dart, all lip-lined
fang and venom.

In these woods I step
blind over logs, unsettle
boulders, thrust a clumsy
stick into dark caves
to find you, to run my lonely
fingertips along the sequin-dazzle
of your low slither.

I would charm you if I could
with shiny baubles,
a shoebox of all the old gifts:
creeksplash over moss-slick
stones, a teacup of blue-black crickets.

But I am clatter and stomp
in this green quiet. Instinct
tightens you to tremble and strike.
In the bloodbeat before
each bite, I marvel
at your taut grace—swell
with pride at the honed arc
you master to carry
fang to heart.

Copyright © 2014 Melanie McCabe All rights reserved
from What the Neighbors Know
FutureCycle Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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