Last Night I Dreamed of Snakes by Fred Slusher
They were writhing,
wriggling their way through
darkened halls & hidden
crevices. I am a small world
made large every night.
And the guns, they don’t work.
My great-grandfather held snakes
in church, offered them up to God.
My, how they danced together.
Strange language, dancing to the beat
of impending eternity, to a sound only
they could hear. Holding death that close
just has to be holy—a desecrated lullaby.
Some people believe the only way you can
know God is to prove to him that you’re not
afraid to die. In the dream, I’m going under
once again. Silence is an art of the most
hallowed & hollow solemnity. Oh faithless
love, oh desert, oh fracture, oh quake, please
caress the fear from my windows where
layers of shadows ensconce me in
false protections, mirages & mists & secret
songs taught only in the dark. There is this fear,
this shroud covering me. There is this sway,
this truth. There is this serpent slivering its
way out of reach. There is this enormity.
There is this heresy. There is this
sorrow. There is this cataclysm
raining on the living. There is this
violence that lives in the soul & chokes it
just so. There is this madness flickering
like a lit match in a dry barn. There is this
burning. There is this roof that’s corpsing
itself into a glorious & effervescent ruin.
There is this scream that imbibes blood like
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