The Black Snake on My Lawn
Benjamin Cutler

The Black Snake on My Lawn

Ancient instinct warned
it should die, but I thought better of it—
of how I should not crush its head

when it had never bruised my heel,
never whispered in my ear; of how
its only cruelty had been to swallow

a cricket’s bright song into its own black,
satin-scaled silence. So, fallen branch
in hand, I urged this slender living

shadow to my land’s eastern edge—
where the earth is richer than dust or days,
where dark ivy creeps up every tree

and covers a multitude of sins.

Benjamin Cutler

is an English and creative writing teacher at Swain County High School in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cider Press Review, Cold Mountain Review, Pembroke Magazine, The Carolina Quarterly, and other journals, and his full-length collection The Geese Who Might be Gods is forthcoming from Main Street Rag.