The Head of the Cottonmouth
Why would I abandon the hunger-suffering
Vulture, spread-winged in the middle of the road
Eating a rabbit while it snows? Wouldn’t you
Want to touch, watch his comrades close down the sky
And, in a black circle, eat red on the white Earth?
And when the hiss of something slithers in—
Panic un-paused—wouldn’t you watch the circle
Break into black leaves pulled from the earth and flung
Into the falling sky? Wouldn’t you want to be
A servant of this paradise, not a God
In front of a screen, naked, lonely, asking—
No more a God than the crown of vultures
Frightened by a hiss that was a tire deflating?
Why would you trade Paradise for an argument
Copyright © 2023 by Roger Reeves. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 19, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.