To render oil from a snake you first must find a snake
buying one from a store is no good
to have one place in your hands is no good
these frauds illegitimize the oil
it can be tasted and felt
a grittiness on the tongue that will also fill in a fingerprint
though your garden variety rube may not know the difference
the connoisseur and the career hypochondriac will notice
they will mark your door with a pentagram
they will find your children and identify the fork in your tongue

Venomousness is not a necessity
just ask any charlatan that’s been choked out by an anaconda
and avoid the Chinese water snake
unless your need for an Omega-3 liniment is great
it is best to undertake your hunt in January or February
those months that don’t exist on antediluvian calendars
you should lay in your plans during tenth-month December
buy sturdy boots and memorize the scent
of snake-den and snake-pit
get comfortable with your reptile tongs
when you can snatch a dragonfly
from above an ice-rimmed kelly green pond you are ready

Don’t bother checking the planetary alignments
stick your tarot cards in the spokes of your old ten-speed bike
you can fashion your ouija board into a kind of shield
but make sure you take along a good herpetological handbook
and prepare to creep carefully into the desolate
with your eyes cast down and your ears pricked forward
listen for the sigh of dreaming snakes
the shake of snoring snakes
shun the rattling knuckles of brass handed Euryale and Stheno
who still hunt the wilderness for that interloper Perseus
intent on bringing justice to him for killing their fair sister Medusa

Some say you can sing a snake from its lair but that’s a lie
better to dangle a fat rat by its tail
lure the ophibians forth from their body-warm knots
pin their heads to the ground and then bag them
watch them writhe be beware their fangs
dripping with the distillation of mankind’s night fears
the liquor that kills slowly
the ichor the burns as your heart sets like cement
spirit them back home fresh and twist them
like you’re screwing a bronze eyebolt into the mast of a ship
to bind your sworn captain to the mast
so he can hear the very songs of destruction
that have drowned a whole race of men since the beginning of time

Rate the poem
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 3.00 out of 5)
We are posting your rating...

Have something to say about the poem?

Profile photo of GlenDodge


Signup / Login to follow the poet.
a poet from Seattle Washington USA. His poetry has appeared in print in publications such as Bellowing Ark, Point Nopoint, and most recently in Contraposition magazine. When not writing poetry he is a Human Resources professional, a repentant glutton, and a novelist specializing in the weird-fiction genre.
Poems you will love

Give your feedback / review for the poem

Be the First to Comment & Review poem!

Notify of

Dark Panacea

Dark Panacea short poem

A crowded room is such a lonely place, wear a fragile mask upon a weary face. Everybody’s here but there’s nobody there and there’s nothing to do except sit and stare. The distant sounds of joy and laughter drifting like