In the suburbs a man
kills another snake, chopping it
with a hoe
in front of the neighbors.
I bend over
in the field nearby
in the long grass, open, crawling
to finger my senses awake.
In the suburbs sun shines.
Snakes return, men
take up shovels and gleaming hoes.
If my father crawled
up the driveway in the shape of a snake
who would kill it?
There it is, the knowledge
that some knowledge is unsafe
even in my fragile hands, careful as I am.
In the suburbs, sun shines again.
Fathers wait with shovels. Daughters
find danger in fields and ditches,
every opening another snake hole.