*2017 ReLit Long Shortlist for Poetry* - Touch Anywhere to Begin
Once, my friend Lisa, sober and naked,
placed a ladder on her bed, climbed up and brought a snake
down from the dusty attic. She named him Oscar.
She knew it was a him by the skin of it, she said, by the heft
and firmness of it, by the way the snake coiled around her chest
and how she was afraid, but held.
Always looking to the flaw in the mirror,
mistake on the typed page, weakness in my pushed
and stretched body – envy is a form of hatred,
the many-armed shadow, the flickering light
across my desk. I want to be fearless, the one
who climbs stark-naked to the ceiling, makes friends
with darkness, caresses the loveless snake
‘til it sighs, then releases.