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ellie epp



of the green      that they lie on the branch as long friends  the supple length familiarly overlaid never stop moving  warm  comfortable on each other as two hands of a body  they on either end of the long green slide raise a bone head   facet   hard as topaz   emerald of course  the hard of the head at the end of the long soft of the one limb   the one muscle moving at every moment from a different leverage   their beauty their extreme beauty is the way from an inferred fulcrum somewhere on that body they raise a little head sending the eyes and tongue the intelligence periscoping out    the quality of the movement   the perfection without hezitation   the trained muscle of the body supporting the head   all of it limbless   organized   a single neck   a head and a neck that's it  the head  and its limb raising it  turning it  and the head for the tongue which is in advance of it all fanning the air tasting licking the air ffflickering        the forked tongue in motion visible at many points


the head at either end does not batter its cage  it feels out  tastes it  climbs the glass hill of the edge  climbs and on a dark in which it sees its elegant double arching to-ward itself  it sees also  shapes moving  in the reptile house


next door in the next glass-sided room    some houseplants and lightbulbs          the black mamba     she's fatter     she's asleep


green mambas / black mambas         the poison sisters


this is a shape of will   snakes do not appall    they are the scary gift of an idea    subversion   version    version    turning in their aquarium drywalled on one side with a mirror    four snakes as I think them   -    although any head in there can only see three,  four is the story        the absent sister who is always there and whose reflection I am meant to be


he is off to the side      she round in her hip lounges toward the tree and the snake looks into her eyes     the two of them do not look away from the eyes held    but humorously    as the apple    just out of periferal vision    but without fumbling    down at belly level    is exchanged


you whip          you braided silk          choker          lover


the snake was never male    least of all the snake in my belly wound like the long worms of the gothic dead    but warm  and in my very warm    sleeping and waking simultaneous with my hunger rousing and playing for its own reason emerging       imagining that flickering tongue knowing as nobody knows justly how little how exactly how slightly to move   snake it is you of course i desire phantom yourself in a reptile-skinned woman   but let it be you sucking your own tongue in concentration     the shape of the snake's head    forward  forebrain  a physiognomy of intelligence and you are it old woman snake no question you're it the ideal lover enlightenment


snakes and snake charmers


snake fence
snake fly
Snake River
snake       an order serpentees in the class of reptilees    elongate animals without limbs or eyelids


the gape of its mouth is tremendous, it pulls itself forward over and around its food


no snakes have a larynx or vocal cords and in consequence none have a true voice


their poison is a protein which acts either to paralyse, temporary, if you can continue to breathe you survive, or to break up the blood corpuscles and vessel linings         from this swelling and gangrene


the mambas are aggressive and neurotoxic   arboreal and terrestrial   of the family elapidae which includes cobras and coral snakes              touched at the fulcrum touched at the point of the apple o beautiful lady she whips       thrashes        hisses and love flies back to the memory of how she does it    celebrate the delusion  carry her why not  sow her in all these days to shoot up pictures and satisfactions  o not a version she lives in or warms but one to warm me


and as for you come to gripping with her her her turning in the catalogue of friends phantoms each other's friends phantoms the snake's my rival  that too   mamba and cobra don't forget there's venom in me for you, snake          sssnake          your tissure of lies your issue of lies     to write out of trouble and necessity would mean snake to describe you to death describe you to death


black sisters    my glittering muses    speaking a tablature understood in fragments   their language  the shape and accenting runs like music and is understood in the dreamland where once i will have lived, and yet i was silenced beside them as they speak  asleep next to them           black sisters speaking endlessly it is time i should tap you at the knees and make off with what there is to know    the poison by which survivors shine