See the mamba in the little garden--
all the neat rows I've planted show a green face to Heaven
and a splintered white one to the airless dark.

Droplet heartbeats couched in fur and heat
fancy themselves tiny suns, and cross my garden to the mamba.
She receives them and they set, as silent as servants.

Each night, the mamba goes home, and each night
I am so alone that my skin suffocates patch by pore
for lack of contact.

As my faculties wane and the sun boasts itself higher,
I have actually spoken to the mamba and discovered her history.
Between killings. Between intoxications.

She storied me her three sisters, each one green and fine--
the tall one, the dark one, and the one whose lover died by dreams.
I remember them now, and the skins they left behind.

How I suffer at night, when the mamba is away--
how absurd the rows seem, without the quick and the dead.
Every twenty minutes I am born again, more infected than before.

Last night, I gave the mamba a name--Apophis.
She is a black mamba, and it is not for her gray body she is so named--
it is for her mouth, so fatal and so perfect.

Tonight I will invite her into my bed, try to turn her
from her homeward ways. One strike will leave me at her mercy,
forever reduced to minutes, but I'll have asked the mamba to love me and she will,

filling me with dendrotoxin that's almost love-like,
or at least,
the version of it that I learned from childhood days in Eden.


Cloudia said…
"She storied me her three sisters, each one green and fine"

Just one of so many pleasures. You are growing!

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3
hedgewitch said…
Trying again--blogger is hungry tonight, I guess.

From the opening image, the rows with the snake in wait--this strikes deadly and sure. The first stanza alone is almost painfully sharp and perfect...then phrase after phrase draw the reader down into the dark dream, each one bringing its own vivid picture along--the lover who died from dreams(!) the being reborn infected, the demon name Apophis, the speaker reduced to minutes...Just exquisite poetry, Shay--surreal and trancelike, making one feel that dying from a neurotoxin might not be so bad after all...
Kerry O'Connor said…
Wow! This is a deadly and dangerous bouquet of images. You have such a deft hand at underplaying the erotic elements which heightening the sensory perception the words create. It's no easy thing to find that balance.

As for the mamba... few snakes scare me (my initial response to them is go around them if they're lying in your path) but there's no going around a mamba, black or green. Vicious, fast and deadly.. I'd like to caution your heroine to stay the hell out the garden and call for an exterminator.
Fireblossom said…
Growing? Must have been those sweet rolls...
Fireblossom said…
Thanks for making the second effort, Joy. Your comments mean a great deal to me. I was reading our book last night, and felt challenged to come up with something good. I hit on the idea of a mamba/lover and was off to the races.
Fireblossom said…
I was trying to think of a nogoodnik of mythic proportions, and the mamba volunteered, with a little dash of Egyptian lore. Thanks for what you said about the erotic elements; I generally find that less is more, with that. Thanks so much for your comment, Kerry. I always look forward to them.
Kathryn Dyche said…
That first stanza had me hooked. I love how your skin suffocates patch by pore, the sisters that left skins behind and the sensual dangerous depths this invokes. Love it.
TexWisGirl said…
i loved this line: I am so alone that my skin suffocates patch by pore
for lack of contact.

and if i have black magic nightmares, i'm blaming you.
Maude Lynn said…
This is hypnotic and deadly beautiful.
Fireblossom said…
Oh sure, blame Fireblossom. Join the line, it's long! ;-)
Fireblossom said…
I like this comment, MZ. Thanks, girl.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
I say the same as Kelli - hypnotic and deadly......and the last lines, about the learning of that kind of love in childhood, really hits home.
Fireblossom said…
Sherry, I always say the same thing as Kelli. She'll kick my ass if I don't! :-P
You. Are. Fire.

Anonymous said…
Love, whaddayagonnado? This reads like going through increasingly dreadful rooms of the house we're stuck in as long as we live. Mamba's poor consolation, but whatever gets you through the night ...
Unknown said…
As one who lives with rattlers, I appreciate the allure and danger of toxic, belly-bound creatures. You've highlighted both qualities in this creation scene.
Anonymous said…
Well, it's myth isn't it? Most gardens are pretty pedestrian places; yours seems to be home to a pretty unusual but awfully damned busy muse.
Anonymous said…
Loved this, Shay. Erotic, mythical, filled with amazing imagery. The lover who died of dreams... The three sisters. The Black Mamba. Yes, her venom is fatal, but the thrill of being so near - tantalizing. Ooooh, baby, you can write!! Amy
The part I found most striking was the end when toxin is described as the closest version to love experienced in childhood. Chilling. This poem is amazing.
Anonymous said…
Love this! Your creativity is just amazing!