Crow spots the slither in high weeds
next to the roadway; crow knows
what this creature wants and needs.
Flies down, lands a hop away,
caws, flaps, puffs out the heart-energy
of his dark breast. Forked tongue
senses warmth, seeks. Sinuations of barreled flesh,
taut and muscled around the flexings of rib cage, advance;
dangerous beast: a slinking machine
of fangs, a jaw that unhinges for prey.
Crow hops back. Copperhead slow, deliberate,
but advancing. Crow’s brethren who frolic
a thousand miles away
have passed along late-night sharings
at their oaken gatherings—shared, then shared
across the clouds and miles again.
A thoughtful method, for they cannot
crack walnuts. But there are those silly creatures
who weigh heavily upon the earth
who bear enough force to help them out.
Crow hops back. Copperhead
hauls himself onto the blacktop. Crow sees all angles.
Holds position, tracking the advances before him
and beside him, bounces back at the last wink.
The heavy rolling thing meets Crow’s timely expectations.
Crow knows what Copperhead wanted. Same desire
we all want: to follow a delicious instinct.
Crow appreciates. He will add this story
to the collective, of how those other living things
always press forward, their tendencies
calculable. But first he will drag the crushed remains
off to safe haven. There he will reflect; he will
devour all those less clever than he and his kind.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 22, Issue 3.
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