Blacksnake at the Family Reunion

Shy visitor, you’ve
empowered Bess who
so frightened her mom
she went up to her room—

& Molly’s never seen
a snake up close, let
alone anyone grasping
such slippery magic.

That’s Tara up
there on the step—
she & my nephew
divorced years

back & she fell off
the planet as far
as our family’s
concerned. Bess is

fourteen here & soon
she’ll set you loose
in the honeysuckle,
grateful to you

for having shown her
exactly what
she needs to know
to live in this world.