I try to grab it just behind the head, but it’s too quick for me; as my fingers close on the slender body, it whips around and grazes my hand with needle-sharp fangs. I drop the young black snake onto the laundry-room floor and gather a container and some stout cardboard. Eluding my clumsy efforts at capture, the snake vanishes beneath a cupboard. I crouch down just in time to see the tip of its tail disappearing through a narrow gap in the baseboard—back into the crawlspace whence it came, no doubt seeking a dry haven from the waterlogged yard.
That evening, I watch the news: as Typhoon Mangkhut batters the Philippines, Hurricane Florence continues to dump Biblical rains across my already flooded state. The coastal city of Wilmington, with virtually every tree and power line down, is completely cut off by rising water.
A torrential downpour drums on the sheet-metal roof, drowning out the newscaster’s voice. As I reach for the remote, I notice a curious strip of glossy, black-and-silver metal lying along the wrought-iron trim of the gas fireplace. I take a closer look—and meet the unblinking eyes of a small snake just as it slips behind the fireplace facing.
a drop of blood
seals an ancient covenant . . .
to fellow travelers
on a planetary ark
~Haibun Today 12:4, Dec. 2018