A Snake Sought Out My Concrete Floor

A snake sought out my concrete floor on a warm, warm evening
And I in bare feet for the heat –
Mellifluously easing its smoothness under the door
Into the room I had presumed was mine
In order to put me right?

When my eyes told my mind what they saw at my feet
I must have drawn breath
for it stopped
And considered with penetrating emeralds
What it saw before it.

Having given myself away
I realised I was no longer part of the furniture
But uncomfortably distinct.

– Still! Be still! Don’t Move Stay Still
My thoughts hissed at me
– Even should it wind itself around your thigh

The glint of the remorseless eyes
Seemed to stop the world turning
Before the eternities that lay behind them

Leaping clumsily like a human being,
Ignoring all time-honoured wisdoms,
I took a chair up with me
And landed back with a crash
Before its stillness.

Stiffening with each ensuing chair-crash
The creature magically pulled itself backwards
Betraying no fear, no widening at the eye –
It seemed, rather, to have taken
A pragmatic decision on its
Dry appraisal.

Perhaps it didn’t wish to be with what it appraised.
It slipped back indifferent garden-wards
And left me with sweaty palms
And something to expiate.

Dominic Mathews