Copperhead — Teresa Morse
In the wild summer grasses
near the lake, where we dropped lines
and I memorized the rhythm of the water
on the bobber,
we found it.
I felt its weight land
on my foot, pressing my laces,
an old rope that moved.
I think it’s a snake,
I probably said, and my dad leapt.
His bucket fell over as he spotted it
slithering through the grass, sleepy
and slow. It was hot.
He grabbed a stick, thick
like a truncheon, and hammered the snake
into the ground. And I watched dumb
as the broken snake, kinked like a hose,
flew through blue air and landed
in the water. My bobber bounced.
A miracle it didn’t bite you,
I frowned. It didn’t bite me.
For this, it died.