Thursday, June 22, 2006

"The Cobra" by Keith Harvey

The Cobra

She sat,
her legs spread,
in the shadow
of a baobab tree
and rubbed her belly,
as the baby kicked
to the rhythm
of the cicada,
their sounds
through the heat
like shifting shells
in a dried gourd.
She focused
on a termite mound
rising from the savannah
to divert her pain.
Ants scoured the grass
around her feet.
She closed her eyes
and entered
the other world,
the home of the cobra,
who waited
and upon her entrance
rose up,
a temple
of scales,
and spread its hood;
its forked tongue
and stung her nose.
She recoiled
and cursed
as her water broke
and soaked the sand.

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