First published in Sand Hill Review #4, Spring 2003, page 32.


Imagine yourself a snake.

Lie on the floor right where you are.

Take off your arms, even your shoulders.

Resign yourself to the permanent loss of opposable thumbs.

Fuse your legs together down to your feet.

Lose even your hips, and weave your extended torso

        across the floor, slithering,

        flagging your toeless tail

        in the same air

        where you extend your

        forking tongue.

Now write a poem.

Do not add legs.

Posted to Pinterest by Virginia Quarterly Review on 3 April 2013. See also Will Willingham’s “This Week’s Top Ten Poetic Picks” Tweetspeak blog post of 4 April 2013 and brief comments there.