Black Rat Snake by Akila Metheny

Black Rat Snake
Akila Metheny

For Alex

We happen upon him off the side of the trail,
a matte black snake
who raises his head and coils himself,
shaking his tail in the leaf litter.

We marvel at this defense;
he wants us to believe
that he is not a black snake,
(how we have been deceived!)
he is a rattler.

The tattoos of the venomous ones
strike the consciousness
and swallow bravery whole.

But this gliding tongue of cosmic darkness
in our lit substance of planet

shakes you up in a new way:
it throws you headfirst into the
pile of questions on the ground,

it moves you with its rhythm.

Akila Metheny is an alumnus of UNCG (class of 2015). She dabbles in poetry as a hobby and has recently come out of a two-year-long writing hiatus. Her Instagram account is @l.t.grey.poems, where she is primarily known for her poetry under that pseudonym. Her father, who inspired her to write, is a widely published poet named Gary Metheny whose work appears in several national and international literary magazines.

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