With Apologies to Emily Dickinson

My Snake

A headless fellow in the grass
Bleeding and lifeless lies,
I did not see him, till too late.
Mower blades met him first.

Grass is short now; he lies exposed,
His stripes truncate too soon;
Tip of the tail is severed, too.
He died this afternoon.

He liked the elm tree’s shade,
Protected from the sun
He made a nest at its roots,
Was sleeping there this morn.

Many days I’ve seen him slither
And pass before my feet.
I never meant him harm; when
I saw him, I’d retreat.

Several of these snakes I’ve had
Abiding in my yard,
Neither of us aggressive,
Yet both kept on our guard.

But never met one so close
By accident or purpose,
To touch him with my hand
Or with the blade’s sharp surface.


This is based on an incident from a couple of years ago. I started a poem about it then and forgot it until recently. I found the nearly finished poem earlier this week and brought it to its conclusion. I really didn’t run over the snake on purpose.