Published on Academy of American Poets (


Last summer, two discrete young snakes left their skin on my small porch, two mornings in a row. Being post-modern now, I pretended as if I did not see them, nor understand what I knew to be circling inside me.  Instead, every hour I told my son to stop with his incessant back-chat. I peeled a banana.  And cursed God—His arrogance, His gall—to still expect our devotion after creating love.  And mosquitoes.  I showed my son the papery dead skins so he could know, too, what it feels like when something shows up at your door—twice—telling you what you already know.


Copyright © 2015 by Robin Coste Lewis. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I’m interested in Descartes’s mind/body split, how our disembodied go-go-go lives are often interrupted by events, coincidences, individualssignsthose moments that remind us, blatantly, of all those sensations we hope to repress. In short, then, I suppose this poem is about that brilliant trickster Denial’s natural triumph over our own self-perception.”
Robin Coste Lewis


Robin Coste Lewis

Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015), winner of the National Book Award in poetry.

Date Published: 2015-07-31

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