by Bryan Owens
When I remove the rainbow serpent from her tank, I am reminded
that I, too, am like Lilith: I have spiraled the arm of God
without biting, not because I’m not strong, or because
I’m not used to splintering holy bones with my coiling body–
I too was defanged in the garden & told to call it grace.
When Jimmy kissed me in my classroom before first period
a cracked mask of defeat stole over his face, as if learning
from Eve’s mistake was the point of her story, so I told him
do it again. When I break a contraband pen in my cell
the snap slithers into the corridor & with the fractured cartridge
I make windows & silhouetted rain on egg-pale bricks, not unlike
those in my classroom; they held shadows when the storm rolled in
& 8th graders danced in angst & oversized formalwear
as we held each other against the dingy carpet behind my desk.
Lucifer gets all the credit. Even the chemical beauty
of fireflies is named after him. The excited flare
that appears in the periphery. Then burns out when we look.