Pasted Mind: snake skin

I’m back for the SMW summer with more poetry than ever! Over the 2018-19 school year, I’ve written and workshopped a lot more full-length poetry. For these next posts, I’ll take some poem excerpts to collage with, and post the whole poem underneath.

I performed this piece for my spring Spoken Arts show, and it’s one of my favorites I’ve written. I wanted to keep alliteration fully throughout the story, and what better way than by writing about an animal that only speaks with one letter?


snake skin

she called me her precious child

i was convinced she’d love me forever

serene and divine, whispering sweet sounds

before she sold my soul on the black market

snapped youthful trust

for the sole price of sixty-six cents

pushed me to seek culture from strangers unlike us

to seek comfort in solitude

seven years late war erupts sparks

explosions surrender bodies upon bodies

metal shotguns against shifting words and syllables

liquid red covering hot sands

blistering soles of feet

and underbellies of snakes

spiteful shapeshifters

seven years late she is designated as “pitiful sorceress” by the winners

humans believing they stood above snakeskins

forced her into submission

to slip away into desert shadows and

secretly spit curses with verses in tongues so old

only snakes slither on with knowledge of her language

only the desert can still recall the knowledge of our ways

but the desert’s post traumatic shock only recalls

sounds of war and mercy

long ago

snake people

spiteful shapeshifters

sent south only to find their kind

called wicked and hellish by strangers

sent to slaughterhouses

just for existing in ways unlike their own

seven years late i slip past the gates of suspense

watch my skin sliver

turn to silver scales

spiteful shapeshifter

send a letter bidding schoolmates sorry farewells

and search for the sorceress

seek out the sands she was last seen upon

i stop counting scales

i am tired of counting by the sixty-six

cents i was sold for

offspring of sorceress

spiteful shapeshifter

seven years late i slither step step

slither step step

past ancient singing sands sending me tales of sorrow

ancient singing sands wailing

listen for the way to the sorceress

mother of all snake skins

spiteful shapeshifters

sewn through sleepless minds

of the same kind

silver eyes and slit tongues slip out of snake snouts

she passed me seven miles back

i counted her scales

by the sixty-six cents she sold me for

but her smooth scaled skin

matched my silver with shades too close

to the ancient sands we both slithered upon

we shed our skins long ago

not called

spiteful shapeshifter