He laid in the sun;
so black and white,
so big, he looked so heavy.
Striped and fat,
he laid on the road by my grandmother’s house.
He’s wearing prisoner’s clothes, I said;
prisoners always wore black and white stripes
in the movies my grandmother liked.
you say the craziest things sometimes,
she eased him back to the weeds with a stick.
My grandmother lived in a house in the country.
A cold green creek ran through the yard.
It’s full of snakes, she used to say
and I pictured a deep, dark pit filled with vipers.
A day or two passed and he laid there again,
on the road in front of my grandmother’s house;
I asked her,
did he go to snake heaven;
he was dry as the dust,
still in his prisoner’s clothes.
I pictured a cold green pool in the sky
like the creek that ran through my grandmother’s yard.
the things you come up with, she said.
But to this day I hope he is there—
he is still so heavy, to me.