Sonoran coral snake
I have an image of you
Eating yourself into forever knots.
Moving in endless S shapes,
Desert nymph. Coral Snake.
Checker board serpent, easily
mistaken for harmless royalty.
You are blessed. Your bite
louder than your bark.
No one questions your seriousness.
No one laughs at your jokes, either.
Drunk from the sun, I try to find you.
You hide, don’t rise up when I call you,
when I whistle. Standing in my own skin.
Waist deep in desert foliage.
I hike, ankle shy to feel you,
but heart hungry to greet you.
I visit your cousins in glass boxes
of captivity. Hungry to touch your
scales, cool and bright colored.
Sailing in an ocean of sun, in ships we call cars.
Too many of us too busy to stop and
find you. Too busy to be comfortable
in the heat of your home.
I feel, underneath the brush,
far outside arms length
a slither, a slinking, a sliding of scales.
There is a phobia dedicated just to you.
There are procedures, maps, guide books
to avoid you.
There are rituals to go through;
spells to cast in order to catch you,
to charm you into baskets,
serenade you into a hallucinated dance.
I imagine sneaking up on you
Freshly unskinned, to see you naked,
see you vulnerable, fresh, unpeeled.
I look for you, like Irish fishermen watch
Seals and dream of silkies.
I believe inside you, there is a man more
Beautiful than my mind can create.
I dreamed about you while staying at
A cheap hotel in Vancouver.
You were part human, male medusa,
tall enough to touch the ceiling.
You struck at me and missed.
I stomped on your stomach;
And I woke, afraid you were dead.
Maya Asher is an Arizona native, she is currently in love with Tucson. While attending the University of Arizona she co-founded the Ocotillo Poetry Slam. She has chosen to dedicate her life to poetry, healing, and other pursuits, such as dancing.