Reptile Affection

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My verdant boa was my prize, my pretty pet.
She had a way of snuggling round my hand,
Resting her muscled limbless expanse
At the foot of my bed

That winsome, unaffected reptilian gaze on me.
She cared, I thought, for her dear caregiver;
Cold-blooded, not cold-hearted, my baby.

And yet, I should have known better
Than to assign such trust to a cold thing.
I should have read the bible;
Should have seen the curse of Eve.

I mistook a beguiling creature
For a beloved pet.
I fed her wicked impulses;
Sold my soul for sinful schemes and
Innocent white mice, miniature victims;
She, a criminal mastermind;
And I, a shameful accomplice.

Nevertheless, I cared for her,
Surreptitious as she was;
And when she starved
I took her to the vet.

I say: she slithers round my house, now hers;
No longer sleeping at my feet
But straight in line with me.
How sweet and human, in folly I did think:
My darling wants simply to sleep with me.

Restless and observant, almost as if
…no – not true –
As if my love would cease to eat
saving space for a lethally calculated supper
…As if she measured me.

Slumbering in my vanity, I woke
To find my love was all consuming;
And I, entangled in the lie,
Smothered deceptively by snaking coils:
swallowed by the falsehood I alone contrived.





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