Snake Lady

by Emily Densten


Not all at once, but bit by bit.
Two inch square pieces at a time,
Transparent and unrecognizable as part of me,
Except for the etched lines mimicking a swatch of back,
     the tip of an elbow, the back of a knee.
My self written in to my old skin.
Every moment as this creature left its mark.
Peeled slowly and methodically,
Never missing a spot,
Removing every scale, every claw, every fang,
Until all the monster parts of me are gone.
All that's left is raw, red, new.

I promise I'll never unhinge my jaw again.
I promise I'll never swallow you whole.