Oh, I’m Dying, I’m Dying,

                                                          the disembodied voice ribs
in the clip of the snake whirlpooling itself to a fake death.
            Blech, she belches, blepp,
as the faux-bra scrapes, underside-up along the grass, forked
                                                          tongue trailing the coil. Oh,
I’m dead—but we know it’s not. The touch-me-not gapes
            its mouth long enough
to be patted again by the cowgirl who runs one finger a length
                                                          of ventral scales. With shit
it musks itself, sometimes punctures a bleed in its commitment
            to being left alone.
I rewind to the seconds of its resurrection, when it flips to flee,
                                                          and pause to admire its hog-
nose of a snout, upturned and useful, subtle shovel in the plot.

Copyright © 2022 by Janine Joseph. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 30, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.