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Sunrise over the Wheat Field

Sleeping with the Serpent


                                                            ~For Aunt Mary Ellen


On threshing day, she said,

we emptied the straw tick mattresses

poured the old chaff into the pig sty,

washed the cotton sacks and hung them

to dry in early autumn sun.


None of us saw the black snake slither

into the pile of new straw.

He did not move when we picked up the stack

and stuffed it into the large pillow case,

sewing the prison shut.


Uncle slept atop the hibernating serpent

until spring came, the mattresses were

once again emptied for washing, and out

crawled the survivor –

well rested, resurrected.



~Marianne Mersereau (Appeared in The Hollins Critic, April 2019) 

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