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Old Stories

                                    Brian Spears

Namer of Animals, he called himself
and the endless stories of the garden
where fruit bloomed with morning,
would fall into his mouth if only
he lay beneath it. And his obsession
with snakes, the hours spent listening
to them writhe in the pit back of his house,
prone, stirring them with a staff,
convinced he could understand them again.
Again. As if he’d ever understood.
As if they’d ever spoken at all. As if
Grandmother hadn’t slipped, fallen
long before we were born, her neck broken
on the rocks, blood curling from behind
her left ear, tracing sinuous lines in the sand.
So close, he mutters, prods the snakes again.

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