The Georgia Slither
The young Californian boy learned his Georgian welcome
in a creek near the trailer rows,
and his west coast father wanted Georgian fish,
so the slow off-road Lindsay creek was settled their day.
The father sat on the bank, playing line
while his son waded out, disturbing the fish.
“It's hot here,” the boy muttered.
“Muggy,” the father added.
“When are we moving back to California?”
“Not until your mother's out of the ARMY.”
The day would be bunk, nothing caught.
What catfish would eat near a splashing, homesick boy?
The two did not mind; it was better to swim or sit
than to fish, though the line was still cast.
A resident of Georgia approached on the surface,
visiting the boy in swift turns.
The father shouted and the boy mooned, still,
luminous and cauterized in too-near black motions.
“Out of the water! Get out!” the father shouted.
The boy exhaled moving back, one Californian foot
behind the next, the water moccasin nosing
his small wake, following, smelling the surface,
flitting a two-point tongue.
It haunted the boy's backside to the edge of shore,
where the warm bank was made, climbed,
the boy rushing up to his father.
Was it human or heat that summoned
that venomous, black spine,
that Georgian water slither?
The boy pleaded and his father backpedaled,
ice-chest in one hand while angrily beating
the water and Georgia snake
with his fishing rod.
Whenever the boy left a place, it did not exist.
Whenever he reached a new one, it always had.
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